Maryland public universities to raise tuition costs

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced plans Jan. 13 for a tuition increase of all public universities in Maryland. The proposed three percent tuition hike will be part of Maryland lawmaker’s plans to cover a $2 billion deficit in the state’s budget.

The increase will likely take effect for the 2010-2011 school year and is projected to save the state $16 million.

 “We are the only state in the U.S. that has frozen [tuition] for four years,” Maryland House Delegate Brian Feldman said. “We have to have a balanced budget under our constitution and we didn’t want to affect K-12 education, and funding [for K-12 education] will actually go up this year.”

According to Feldman and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of “100 Best Values in Public Colleges,” Maryland now ranks as the eighth best value college, a significant improvement since its 2008 28th place finish.

While the price of attending Maryland schools will be increasing slightly for in-state students, high school college counselors do not expect a significant change in the number of applications submitted.

“You have to remember that the in-state tuition at [University of Maryland College Park] is still, in many cases, much less than at private institutions or as an out-of-state student at another public institution,” CHS college and career counselor Luana Zimmerman said. “There has been no decrease in applications, maybe a slight increase.”

Many parents acknowledge that the Maryland University System remains a relative bargain for in-state students, a reason that a large number of former CHS students currently attend the school.

“In percent comparison to other colleges, UMD has a great value even with its proposed increase,” said Joyce Schneider, the mother of ’09 alumnus student Jon Schneider, who currently attends College Park. “In order to prevent cutbacks that are going to impact the quality of education, there has to be an increase in tuition to fund the advancement of education.”

While the number of applications to UMD remains high, acceptance rates for CHS students have been decreasing as the university raises its standards.

“[University of] Maryland [at College Park] has become increasingly more competitive over the past several years and nationally, there [is] a larger number of students applying to college,” Zimmerman said. “The average [weighted GPA] for accepted students in the priority group was over 4.3 and the average SAT was over 1380 on the 1600 scale.”