The Maryland General Assembly concluded its legislative session April 11 by approving a budget increase for the University System of Maryland, which was proposed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R).
The university system will receive a $39 million increase, totaling a $1.39 billion annual budget.
“The USM is always appreciative of the tradition in Maryland for support of public higher education,” USM Media Relations and Web Manager Mike Lurie wrote in an email. “Funding for new academic and research facilities slated for construction or renovation at our universities across the system … will fuel economic development and jobs.”
University of Maryland President Wallach D. Loh
The increased funds will enable the university system to fund new facilities operating costs, especially STEM facilities, and fund the second year of partnership in academic and research programs between University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Maryland, College Park, Lurie wrote.
He also said that the USM plans to fund workforce shortages and provide a 2 percent cost-of-living salary adjustment to university system faculty and staff beginning Jan. 1 with the additional funding.
An additional .05 percent pay increase with one-time $500 bonus beginning April 2019 is possible if the state ends the current fiscal year in June with at least $75 million more in tax revenue than projected, said University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace D. Loh in a campus community email.
The legislation also limits tuition increases to 2 percent in the next fiscal year beginning in July, Loh wrote.
The Southern Maryland-University System of Maryland Partnership Act of 2018 will be a priority for the USM, which was made possible by the legislation, Lurie said.
The partnership between the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center and the university system “will support new educational opportunities for students and workforce in Southern Maryland,” especially with STEM-related research in the field of unmanned autonomous systems, Lurie wrote.
The partnership will help expand the regional higher education center to fully meet the needs of Southern Maryland, “incorporating the strengths of the current institutional partners operating at SMHEC with the value of USM leadership,” he said.