Student Financial Aid, Capital Spending, Employee Compensation Surge in New Budget
Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle
University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines sent the following email to the campus community today:
The Maryland General Assembly concluded its 444th legislative session on Monday, April 11 at midnight, continuing its strong commitment to higher education, particularly through student support, including financial aid, campus initiatives and infrastructure.
The General Assembly adopted Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget for public higher education as introduced, including the restoration of cuts to the University System of Maryland’s (USM) budget made in July 2020. This amounts to an approximate $41 million base budget increase. The final budget also includes a $20 million increase to USM for need-based financial aid, $8 million to the Maryland Higher Education Commission and Maryland College Aid Processing System for upgraded financial aid systems to greatly improve the student experience, and full funding for University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State programs.
The budget also includes nearly $200 million for increases to USM employee compensation, something for which we advocated strongly. In addition to January’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), one-time bonus and merit, an additional 3% COLA and merit pool was approved for July 2022.
This year’s capital budget funds a number of key projects that will advance our academic and research enterprise, support our students and community, and enhance our existing campus infrastructure. Totaling more than $118 million in funding, these projects include the construction of the new chemistry building, planning for an interdisciplinary engineering building, the completion of the research and academic wing of Cole Field House, quantum infrastructure, new graduate student housing, a community preservation trust as part of the College Park City-University Partnership, and campus facilities renewal projects.
The General Assembly passed a number of bills this session related directly to the University of Maryland and higher education more broadly. We made it a priority this year to focus advocacy efforts around financial aid, and I am pleased that the General Assembly passed several bills aimed at increasing need-based financial aid, and improving the systems and processes that manage and disburse aid to applicants, including:
The General Assembly also passed a number of bills supporting campus programs and initiatives. These bills further demonstrate UMD’s flagship role as a statewide resource to address pressing issues from agriculture to public health.
We are grateful to Gov. Hogan, the General Assembly and staff for their dedication to make this a productive legislative session addressing important higher education issues.
Thank you to all of our community members on campus and beyond who advocated for our university in Annapolis, including USM officials; faculty, staff, students and administrators; our Alumni Association; and our UMCP Foundation Board of Trustees. I would also like to specifically commend Ross Stern, executive director of government relations, and his team of Virginia Meehan and Molly McKee-Seabrook. None of this would’ve been possible without their tireless advocacy this session. Our collective and ongoing commitment to advancing the state’s flagship institution has led to another successful year and leaves me with continued optimism for our future.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
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