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O’Malley’s Proposed Budget Calls For Hike in College Tuition

The planned increase is less than initially proposed, state leaders said.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley File | Patch
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley File | Patch

By ETHAN BARTON

Capital News Service

Students at Maryland state colleges and universities could face a 3 percent tuition increase, as a result of the budget proposal Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Wednesday.

Initially, the University System of Maryland wanted a 5 percent tuition increase, but through funding from the state, the governor’s office was able to push it down to a 3 percent cap, said O’Malley’s press secretary, Nina Smith.

The University System of Maryland is without complaint.

“The System is very pleased with the governor’s budget,” said Chancellor Brit Kirwan. “We know that resources are extremely tight in Annapolis.”

Based on the 2013-2014 school year, tuition at Salisbury University may go up by nearly $200.

“It’s not going to be fun to pay for, but I don’t really have a choice in it, I guess,” said Alia Otwell, 20, a sophomore at Salisbury.

Instead, that $200 could pay for more than 250 packs of ramen noodles, the sterotypical staple diet of college students.

Otwell, an Easton native, said she is paying for college through student loans, grants and scholarships.

During his presentation, O’Malley showed a graph indicating that Maryland state school tuitions had only risen by just greater than 3 percent since O’Malley became governor in 2007, making it the lowest in the nation, according to a report by College Board.

Not included, however, is that tuition rose by 8 percent over the past five years from annual increases, according to the same report.

“Our state has done more than any other state to hold down the cost of college education,” O’Malley said.

The university has risen in equality and is more affordable because of the Governor and the General Assembly, Kirwan said.

Both O’Malley and Kirwan compared the percent increase of tuition to other state schools across the country.

For example, Arizona, adjusting for inflation, has increased its tuition by 80 percent over the last eight years - the highest of all states, O’Malley said.

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