Tuition at Maryland’s public colleges and universities would increase 2 percent next year under Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed budget, maintaining the state’s track record of keeping tuition low.
While other states have placed more financial burden on their higher education institutes and students, Maryland has traditionally kept tuition increases low, including a four-year tuition freeze during former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration.
The University System of Maryland has gone from a rank of about 6th-highest for average tuition to 21st in the nation.
“This trend has been made possible in recent years by critical funding support from Governor Hogan and the Maryland legislature,” said Mike Lurie, a spokesperson for the system. “The (system) greatly appreciates the governor’s proposal to give the (the system) enough funding for the system to keep in-state tuition increases at 2 percent, continuing to position Maryland as a state that is among the most affordable for public higher education in the United States.
“The USM looks forward to working closely with Annapolis leadership to keep tuition affordable and continue the system’s role as an economic driver for the state.”
The tuition increases come as part of $1.38 billion in state funds designated for the University System of Maryland. It represents a 2.4 percent increase from fiscal year 2018.
The system along with the two other public schools will set tuition for the next school year this spring. The other schools affected would be Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, which are not part of the University System of Maryland. They receive $96.7 million and $26 million, respectively, under the budget proposal.
An in-state freshman entering the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2007 would have paid $6,566 in tuition and $1,403 in mandatory fees. Ten years later, an in-state freshman entering for this school year would pay $8,481 in tuition and $1,935 in mandatory student fees.
Over the 10-year period, tuition for Maryland’s in-state students increased 29 percent. Tuition at national universities rose an average of 65 percent over the same period, according to U.S. News and World Report. National universities are defined as schools that offer undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs.
In-state tuition at Maryland’s flagship university has risen more than 50 percent over the same period of time.
Much of the other states’ significant tuition increases came as they dealt with the ramifications of last decade’s recession on state treasuries.
Maryland’s 2 percent increase this year would best be described as unremarkable, said Sandy Baum, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute.
“Two percent is not a very high tuition increase,” she said. But it’s also not so low as to be considered outstanding, she added. “It’s just sort of unremarkable.”
While tuition will remain relatively low for Maryland’s in-state students, mandatory fees along with room and board, books and other incidental expenses brought the total cost of college to approximately $25,700 this year. That puts tuition at around 33 percent of total cost.
Those added costs shouldn’t force people to reconsider going to college, Baum said.
“The reality is that for students at public institutions, living expenses are almost always more expensive than tuition and fees,” she said.
But those students would likely pay rent and food even if they did not go to school, and those costs are likely to be higher when paid on their own and without student financial aid, she added.