By: Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief
The University increased tuition by $60 per semester over winter break, in order to adjust for spending cuts that were a part of former Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget.
The state is expected to have a deficit of at least $300 million for fiscal year 2015, and it could reach a $600 million deficit by FY 2016.
As a whole, the University System of Maryland’s budget was cut by $40.3 million, and Towson’s share of that reduction is $3.5 million, according to an email sent out to all students by Acting President Timothy Chandler on Jan. 16.
“Sharing this financial burden with our students is a decision we take very seriously. After discussing the news with a group of student leaders, they fully understood that the increase was preferred over cutting student services, and that the timing and severity of this cut made it necessary. We will not allow these cuts to diminish the quality of our institution or the results of our collective hard work. We are confident that our community’s cooperative spirit and steadfast support, which has carried our institution for close to 150 years, will continue to carry us forward,” Chandler said in the email.
In addition to the tuition increase, the University is also keeping a spending freeze in effect that was announced in November.
According to an email sent out to faculty members on Nov. 13, that was sent by Chief Financial Officer for the University Joe Oster, the University complied with a USM directive by implementing salary freezes for all positions “with limited exceptions as appropriate for University needs,” hiring freezes for all positions with exceptions for “critical” positions, a reduction in equipment purchases and any facility renewal projects and travel restrictions.
“As many of you know, the state has recently announced that it is facing a deficit of at least $300 million this current fiscal year. Towson University has been directed by the [USM] to take immediate cost saving measures to deal with impending budget reductions,” Oster said in that email.
Newly inaugurated Governor Larry Hogan rolled out his budget plan last week, which actually increased state spending by 1 percent compared to last year.
It does cut education spending, though, by cutting the Geographic Cost of Education Index by 50 percent and would spend $194 million more than projected state revenue, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.