Apr 21, 2010

Tuition Freeze Ends for Maryland Public Universities

At the University of Maryland, seniors are paying exactly the same amount of tuition they paid four years ago as incoming freshman. Thanks to a state-mandated tuition freeze, students across the 11-campus Maryland public university system have enjoyed a financial break that undergrads in Virginia could only dream about.

But the party’s over. Regents at the University of Maryland recently approved a 3 percent tuition increase for the first time in four years, ending the freeze for both resident and nonresident students studying in the Free State’s public institutions.

At the University of Maryland, in-state tuition, with an extra push from required fees, will rise from $8053 to $8416, or by 4.5 percent. Out-of-state students will pay $24,831 or 3.5 percent more next fall for the same education. Bowie State’s resident tuition with fees will increase from $6040 to $6153 or a modest 1.9 percent, while Towson’s total will go up to $7656, or 3.4 percent. Maryland’s “honor university,” the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) will also increase by 3.4 percent from $8872 to $9171.

The tuition thaw comes just as University of Maryland President C.D. Mote retires from the College Park office he has held since 1998. He leaves the campus with a stronger academic reputation and greater national respect, resulting in an incoming freshman class boasting of the highest SAT’s and grade point averages ever.

In 2005, Maryland’s public universities were considered a little on the pricey side, ranking 8th in the nation for total cost. Since Governor Martin O’Malley announced his intention to bring Maryland more toward the “middle of the road” in affordability, state schools have dropped to number 17 in overall expense, according to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing.

Across the Potomac, Virginia students are mostly waiting to hear what will happen with tuition for the next academic year. As the May 1st sign-up date approaches for prospective freshmen, UVa, the College of William and Mary, and Virginia Tech—to name a few—still haven’t made formal tuition announcements for the 2010-11 year. All signs point to increase. It’s just a matter of by how much.

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