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Regents OK lower tuition for some non-state students

William Kirwan

In an effort to attract new students and increase retention, three schools in the University System of Maryland will offer lower tuition rates to some out-of-state students.

The system’s Board of Regents unanimously approved Friday the creation of regional out-of-state tuition rates for Frostburg State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and USM Hagerstown. The rates will apply to students who live outside of Maryland but still relatively close to each school.

All three institutions have the capacity to expand their enrollment, and increased college participation could help improve the economy and quality of life in the areas around the schools, Kirwan said.

“It is certainly a goal of this system to see our nation do a much better job in providing college completion opportunities,” Kirwan said.

Frostburg State University currently offers discounted out-of-state tuition to counties in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania that are considered contiguous to its campus in Western Maryland. The new plan would instead apply that rate to residents who live within a 120-mile radius of the university, Kirwan said.

Since county lines are drawn irregularly, the old system helped some students but not others who might actually live closer to the campus, Kirwan said.

Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter told the board that the change will allow the school to “tap into about 37,000 additional, potential high-school graduates over the next two years” and will make Frostburg more competitive with schools in Pennsylvania.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore will offer discounted rates to students from the eastern shore of Virginia and all of Delaware, while USM Hagerstown, which offers classes from several other universities in Maryland, will offer a lower rate to the West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania counties that border Washington County.

Frostburg’s current out-of-state tuition for full-time undergraduates is $17,434; the proposed regional out-of-state tuition for fiscal 2016 is $13,688. University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s current out-of-state tuition is $13,791, and its proposed regional rate is $7,034.

Rates at USM Hagerstown vary based on which university is providing the classes.

The remaining proposed tuition rates for fiscal 2016 aren’t yet available. Tuition rates will be set by the board at a special meeting in May, according to a university system spokesman.