O’Malley’s 2014 Fiscal Year budget for USM will advance UMBC campus
Summary: A new Maryland state budget is currently under legislative review and will potentially keep university tuitions low in order to increase enrollment rates and completion.
By: Ashley Edokpayi
This week UMBC’s conference committee returned to Annapolis, MD to continue in the legislative process for the new Maryland state budget. For the first time in five years, Governor O’Malley is increasing budget funds for the University System of Maryland (USM) to support enrollment growth and college completion.
“Higher education is so important and keeping tuition low gives students more incentive to finish their degrees” said Director of the SGA Office of Community and Governmental Affairs Meghan Carpenter. Carpenter currently interns for MD Senator Richard S. Madaleno who is one of many advocates for the USM budget increase.
“A lot of students are self sufficient, and if they can spend less time working to pay for tuition and more studies it will definitely be beneficial” said Carpenter.
UMBC will potentially receive $7.1 million in increased financial support from the state if the proposed budget is approved by the legislature. In addition, $3 million in additional tuition revenue will be allotted. The budget will enable the USM Board of Regents to hold in-state undergraduate tuition increases at 3 percent, keeping Maryland’s leading position in minimizing growth in college costs.
Since 2008, Maryland college tuition costs have only increased by 2%, leaving it as the number one state to keep higher education costs as low as possible. Public funding plays a pivotal role in low tuition, especially within the USM system.
“I think it’s great that the governor is trying to keep Maryland tuitions down” said junior pre-nursing major Ria Smith. Smith plans on continuing her education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore after UMBC and will be paying out-of-pocket for tuition and fees. “Keeping tuition reasonable takes away stress from students” she said.
The capital budget proposal also includes $35.2 million to complete the Phase 2 construction of the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, advances to the Interdisciplinary Life Studies Building fund for 2016 and $2 million to better design and reconstruct our campuses entrance in front of the Administration building.
Enhancement funding is also a major part of the new budget. The governor aims to make lectures more modern in terms of materials, further developments for STEM majors and improving connections between the University of Maryland campuses, particularly the Baltimore and College Park locations.
“Our school is always advancing and wanting to grow more so having this additional support is very rewarding” said junior psychology major Jasmine Williams. UMBC’s legislative testimony for the budget places advancing the university as top priority and continuing the increasing trend of degrees awarded to UMBC students.
“Here at UMBC it is important for us to offer affordable education and this will help support that” said Carpenter.