Dr. Tuajuanda C. Jordan
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Dr. Tuajuanda C. Jordan took over as president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland in July 2014 and quickly set her sights on making tuition more affordable and expanding access to a quality education for all students.
“Our tuition was so high that students who had the intellectual capacity to thrive here could not get here,” said Jordan, the college’s first African-American president.
The board agreed with her, she said, and backed her push to maintain tuition rates for in-and out-of-state students.
This early decision put Jordan out in front of what has become a national push to make college tuition more affordable for students and reduce burdensome debt associated with college loans.
Next year, Jordan said, St. Mary’s College will charge the same amount for tuition as it did in 2010.
In the short term, she said, the move will reduce revenue by about $800,000 for the liberal arts college. In the long-term, she said, she expects the move to control tuition inflation to make the university more affordable.
“My coming in with the goal of not raising tuition is going to begin paying off starting next fall,” she said, referring to tuition increases announced at competing colleges.
St. Mary’s College is the smallest public institution in the state, enrolling 1,700 students, and in her inaugural address, Jordan referred to the institution as an “underdog.”
“Yet, we are underdog with 175 years of experience of quietly beating the odds and providing an education that fosters the pursuit of lifelong success and happiness,” she said in the address.
Most of the college’s competitors are private institutions, she said.
However, even nationally Jordan said tuition and fees, as well as graduation and retention rates are competitive.
Jordan said that four-and six-year graduation rates at St. Mary’s are the highest in the state for public institutions.
The graduation rate for African-American students is 77 percent, she said — 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitors in the state.
“We don’t have the means to properly market ourselves for all of the excellence that’s here,” Jordan said. “But we’re trying to make the invisible, visible.”