Mid-Year Budget Cuts

By Hannah Lang

University of Maryland students may be in for a surprise when reviewing their university billing statements this semester. In order to compensate for $15.6 million in budget cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, the University of Maryland decided to raise tuition midyear for the first time in 12 years.

In-state students will have to pay an extra $152 this semester, while out-of-state students will pay an additional $279. President Wallace D. Loh also announced that in order to accommodate for the remainder of the deficit, salary-based furlough days would be enforced for university employees.

While incoming Governor Larry Hogan’s budget for the next fiscal year (beginning July 1) offers a 1.3 percent increase for the University System of Maryland, the school’s budget will still go down by $39.3 million.

Loh wrote in an email to university students that the school planned on taking three steps next year in order to satisfy the losses the University of Maryland will face. The university will eliminate vacant positions, continue the 2 percent midyear tuition increase and halt merit raises for employees. These steps will save an estimated $39.3 million, which will make up for the decrease in the overall budget.

While some students and faculty were frustrated with the additional financial burden, others saw it coming. Journalism professor Kalyani Chadha said she thought the tuition increases and furloughs were inevitable and not as bad as they could have been.

“Certainly the furloughs mean that people won’t lose their jobs and I think that is the best outcome given the circumstances,” Chadha said.

Unfortunately, university faculty and staff will see the most shortcomings following these budget cuts. In addition to the furlough days and absence of merit raises, state agencies will be required to take back a 2 percent cost of living increase effective July 1.

Freshman communications major Jessica Schoen was not too concerned about the extra money tacked on to her billing statement.

“Student loans are already haunting me for the rest of my life whether or not they take an extra $300,” Schoen said.

A number of students agree that while the extra tuition money is not ideal, the increase is especially small compared to the other amounts of money they pay to attend college.

“Education is one of the most important things we can receive in a lifetime,” Sherry Levine, a freshman finance major said. “Not only will it pay off financially in the future, but it is necessary for growing as an individual.”

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