New MD state budget will greatly benefit UMBC

 

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.

An inside scoop on SGA’s election board

 

SGA’s election board has recently been busy at work promoting the 2013-2014 candidate elections.

Summary: The election board plays a major role as an informant for students for the SGA election process every spring semester. As the current election is reaching its end, they are in full gear making sure that students vote.

By: Ashley Edokpayi

Throughout this spring semester, UMBC’s SGA Election Board has been working hard to ensure that students are informed and involved with the 2013-2014 election process. This Thursday April 25 the board will be revealing the results of the 2013 SGA election.

“I really enjoy engaging students in the election who have never been a part of the process before” said election board Chair Collin Wojciechowski. He spent time during this election going around and talking to students and also encouraging them to vote. “We are trying out hardest to break last years’ record turnout” he said.

Along with Wojciechowski, this years’ board members include: Nathan Rehr (Vice Chair), Corey Rudolph (two time board member, Election Operations), Yanil Escolastico (Commuter Students Operations), Kristen Shields (Marketing), Jason Lee (Graphic Design) and Briana Hall (Student Organizations Operations).

SGA’s election board facilitates the election from its start to finish. Before spring break, they recruit candidates and hold information sessions to remind students that all of the UMBC population is ideally a part of SGA.

“The board’s biggest concern is always reaching as many students as possible and getting as many we can to sign up and run” said Wojciechowski. He and the rest of the board use several methods, like setting up information tables and utilizing social media, to enlighten students about the process. “Everyone has a responsibility to aid in its [SGA’s] leadership” he said.

Following spring break, the board runs logistics of the actual election by marketing it, promoting students to vote online and also enforcing election board rules. Current board members are not working directly for the SGA, but three have worked for the organization in the past. Only one, Rudolph, has been a board member before.

“I think the SGA as an organization could better reach out to commuters because it seems like majority events are geared to on-campus students” said junior media and communications major Margaret Barker. “However I do think they create a fun and safe campus for UMBC students” she said.

Voting can be done this week before 4 p.m. this Thursday online at umbc.edu/studentvote or on Commons Main Street from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free food and t-shirts will be available for students that come out and vote.

“We want to remind each and every student that this is their election, their future” said Wojciechowski.