Increases in tuition unexpected and lofty
Increased tuition for UMBC students worsens an already large burden.
It seems that higher education, the stepping-stone to prosperity, is getting more and more expensive in Maryland these days.
Both former Governor Martin O’Malley and now-Governor Larry Hogan have unexpectedly cut money from the state’s university funding, while raising the tuition rate. Essentially, both governors have charged students more money for higher education.
Just before leaving office, the former Governor O’Malley recommended budget cuts that amount to 400 million dollars, including a 40 million dollar cut to the University System of Maryland.
This 40 million dollar cut is an amount 5 times larger than USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan expected last month, and many schools, including Towson University and University of Maryland, are compensating for these cuts by implementing tuition hikes beginning this semester.
Just a week later, the newly elected Governor Hogan presented his recommended
budget for Fiscal-Year 2016, which included a 5% increase in tuition and 4% increases for subsequent years. The former Governor O’Malley made sure to increase tuition only by 3% each year for USM students during the Great Recession, which is a stark difference from Hogan’s increases.
The tuition hike of both this semester and the next, for UMD at least, will add
up to a 7% increase, the largest increase in tuition in a decade, according to Kirwan.
UMBC is one of a select few schools to not increase tuition for the spring semester, but President Hrabowski alluded to higher tuition rates for next fall. “We anticipate that budget challenges will continue into the next academic year. We plan to engage the campus community early in the new semester to discuss options for managing additional cuts, including the possibility of a higher-than-planned tuition increase for the fall semester,” said Hrabowski.
For students, this should be nothing new. Since the 2007-08 school year, before the
Great Recession, annual tuition at Maryland’s 4-year public colleges has increased by 28%, or $1,936 after adjusting for inflation. This is coupled with the continual higher education budget cutting, which has been cut 12% since that time.
Because of this trend nationwide, according to a recent study, total student debt has surpassed $1 trillion, and families now bear more of a debt burden for college students than
If Hogan wants to make a difference as the second Republican Governor in 50 years,
he needs to be different from his predecessors, both Democrat and Republican alike. Governor O’Malley cut $40 million from the higher education fund. Although Hogan is marginally increasing the fund by 1.3%, he’s charging more for it with higher tuition rates.
At a time that students are up to their necks in debt, even the smallest tuition increases can make or break a student’s enrollment. It’s time the people in power pay attention to the future generations and encourage students to focus on their academics instead of their bills.