Interpretations Speak Up for Your University C A L L TO AC T I O N
IN VARIOUS FORUMS over the last year,
including the fall issue of Terp magazine, I have commented on long-term trends that are posing unprecedented challenges to public higher education. At a time when more young people are graduating from high school and choosing to enter college and when our knowledge-based economy requires both cutting-edge research and a highly educated workforce, the nation is investing less in higher education. Concurrently, everyone—federal and state officials, students and parents, corporate leaders—is demanding higher quality. What is a university to do? Here at Maryland we are determined to build on our
success and keep moving forward.We intend to enhance our academic quality, which now includes 50 programs ranked nationally among the top 15, and remain accessible to talented students regardless of their financial means. Achieving these ambitious goals in the face of many challenges requires “outside the box” thinking, entrepreneurial behavior and the involvement and support of our alumni and friends. Scholarship support will be the linchpin to Maryland’s continued success. A high percentage of our students come from families with modest means. Many are the first in their family to attend college. Not surprisingly, then, the average debt load of graduating seniors is more than $20,000. Last year our state appropriation fell to the level of funding in 2000. Over the long term, state support will represent a diminishing percentage of our total budget (currently it is 26%), but even if there is not a reinvestment in higher education, at least support should be stable and predictable.That way we can plan intelligently, act creatively, and operate in a more business-like fashion. In the end, it will be up to all of us to make sure that Maryland remains a flagship institution in every respect: preeminent in education and research and a place where bright students, regardless of their financial means, come to prepare for leadership roles in society. If you benefited personally from your education, or if you hire our graduates, or if you believe in investing in the future of our citizenry, consider helping the university with your advocacy and your support of scholarships.
“Scholarship support will be the linchpin to Maryland’s continued success.”
T o ensure that Maryland achieves its place among the nation’s finest public research universities, we need your involvement and assistance. Your support can be expressed in a host of ways, but two are especially important.
◗ If you are a Maryland resident, speak to your state delegate and senator about the importance of stable and predictable funding for public higher education. Over the long term, state support will represent a diminishing percentage of our total budget (currently it is 26 percent). Check our Web site www.stategov.umd.edu for how you can contact your legislators.
◗ Consider joining the ranks of our donors (41,000 alumni and friends last year) or adding to support you already provide by funding scholarships. Increases in tuition are inevitable, and we are doing everything we can to raise the level of financial support from alumni and friends. For more information on scholarship support, contact Patricia Wang at 301.405.7764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Mote, President
PHOTO BY JEREMY GREENE
Terp Magazine, University of Maryland