ADELPHI - The University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved
an average tuition increase of 5.8 percent Wednesday and rejected an
amendment to cap tuition increases at 5 percent for the next three years.
The amendment, proposed by Regent James C. Rosapepe and considered by the
regents' finance committee, would have required the board to tap $2.7
million from more than $200 million in unallocated funds from Gov. Robert
Ehrlich's $25.9 billion budget.
Several members said they were uncomfortable requesting more money from
the governor, so they opted to approve the 5.8 percent tuition increase recommended
by Chancellor Brit Kirwan.
After several years of cuts to the system budget, Gov. Robert Ehrlich
raised the university budget by 4.8 percent or $43 million in 2006.
"[The governor] came up with the 5.7 (percent) increase when other state
agencies received cuts," Regent Patricia Florestano said. "Politically it is
the wrong move to ask the governor for more money."
The 5.8 percent tuition increase is the lowest students have seen in
awhile. Tuition has risen an average of 30 percent over the last couple of
The governor's funding boost kept tuition increases from soaring into
double digits, Kirwan said.
The increase also contributed to the failure of a movement to override
Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto of a bill to cap tuition at 5 percent for the
next three years.
Kirwan said he was grateful for the increase and added the board acted
prudently in approving the average 5.8 percent tuition increase.
"It's a huge plus for the students," he said.
When the chancellor originally went to Ehrlich about extra higher
education money in December, he said the governor offered $30 million more,
but later added $13 million.
"Our very good situation got even better," Kirwan said.
Still, Rosapepe wanted to keep the cost low for the next three years and
proposed an amendment to obtain the money from unallocated funds in the
governor's budget. It would require asking $2.7 million more from the
"We need to ask the governor to make up the difference instead of the
money coming out of the student's pocket," Kirwan said.
Other members agreed it would be a bad political move to ask for more
Regent Marvin Mandel, a former Maryland governor, called the amendment
"To go back to the governor and say you didn't get enough is a terrible
move," Mandel said.
While C.D. Mote, president of the University of Maryland, College Park
commended Rosapepe's efforts to "provide predictability in tuition for
students" he said the university needed the 5.8 percent tuition increase "to
avoid further cuts in other programs."
Rosapepe said he will go directly to the General Assembly with his
"I'm disappointed," he said. "The board missed out on a leadership
Copyright © 2005 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism
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