- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is holding the line on tuition for students for the second year in a row, and also focusing on recruiting students from out of state.
The college’s board of trustees voted Saturday not to increase tuition next academic year, while modestly increasing room and board charges.
Tuition will remain at $12,245 for Maryland residents. When room and board are added, the cost will go up by about $300 next year to $26,599 for students living on campus.
Last spring, the state government pledged to give the college extra money for two years to keep tuition frozen for Maryland residents. The approximate $1.6 million in additional funding is equivalent to 4 percent increases in tuition both for the current year and next year.
The college trustees voted Saturday not to raise tuition for out-of-state students next year, either. A non-Maryland resident next year will pay about $40,399 for tuition, room, board and fees.
The out-of-state costs reflect the actual cost to educate a student at a college, Ian Newbould, interim president, said. Maryland residents pay a tuition price that is subsidized by the state that cuts the tuition price roughly in half.
Tuition at St. Mary’s College is among the highest in the nation for public colleges, according to a federal website listing prices.
“I dare say it’s cheaper to go to an Ivy League school than it is to go here,” especially for out-of-state students, Newbould said.
Because they pay more, students from out of state can be financially attractive to the college’s bottom line. They can also add to the diversity of the student body.
To that end, administrators and trustees said Saturday the college should try to attract more students from outside Maryland.
Gary Sherman, vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions, said that he is not aware of a particular major that draws more out-of-state students, but that some of the campus’ sports programs do.
Newbould recently authorized some contingency funds to help step up recruitment efforts outside of Maryland for sports like sailing, basketball, lacrosse and soccer.
Trustee Peg Duchesne asked whether the college should have a requirement to serve Maryland students before those from outside the state.
While there is no specific requirement, college administrators said, the public college cannot use money from the state to offer financial aid for students who are not Maryland residents. The college can, however, use its endowments created from private donations to bring down the costs to out-of-state students.
Last spring the college announced it could not fill its incoming freshman class, which would create a shortfall in revenue to the tune of $3.5 million. The college made cuts to its budget, with more expected next year.
“We will have a balanced budget. We will find the cuts we need to make,” Newbould said.
He said he is hopeful that the college will continue to get strong financial support from state legislators.
Admissions officials blamed the enrollment shortfall this academic year on a variety of factors, including not being proactive enough and a national trend of fewer college applicants.
This year the numbers of applicants to St. Mary’s College look promising, Sherman said.
“Even as you see things improve, we are working against the tide” of enrollment challenges at many colleges, trustee Molly Mahoney said.
In addition to recruiting freshmen for next year, St. Mary’s College is continuing to look for transfer students to help make up for this year’s small freshman class.
for next president
The trustees expect to further narrow the list of candidates to assume the presidency of the college in the coming weeks.
“We winnowed down a really wonderful list of nearly 30 applicants down to 11,” Gail Harmon, chair of the trustees, said. A search committee will conduct interviews at airports during the next week or two before making a recommendation of three to four finalists in mid-March.
The plan is to then bring the finalists to campus in March for more interviews, tours of the campus and introductions to students, faculty and staff. A new president is then expected to be chosen and begin work this summer.