The new chancellor for the University of Maryland stopped by Salisbury University yesterday as the school system faces some potentially tight budgets.
Chancellor Robert Caret was upbeat about the prospects of expanding attendance and keeping down costs for students.
But while he expects the University system budget for the next fiscal year to remain flat there could be some cuts and an increase in tuition in the years ahead.
“I don’t see layoffs. But I see there are a couple of campuses that may be in a situation where they might look at that if cuts were to come. Beyond that we’re looking at a moderate tuition increase, but it would be on the inflationary side if we did it. But that’s knowing what the budget looks like today. Six months from now it could look very different.”
Caret noted that tuition has continued to rise, while state support has fallen among university campuses.
Caret also took aim at the tremendous debt that students are taking on in the form of federal loans just to pay higher education.
“If you’re going to do loans, at least make them a zero interest rate when they graduate. Right now the federal government is charging four to eight percent interest rates, sometimes, on these loans, where you can get private money for almost zero percent and yet you're charging the student four to eight percent to run this program. And, my feeling is that you should be investing in students not using them as a profit center.”
Governor Larry Hogan has been pushing for a 2 percent across the board cuts in state spending as Maryland is faces a $1.7 billion structural deficit over the next four years.