Annual Legislative Session Closes, Holding Higher Education Funding Steady
Published 4/19/21 in Maryland Today
President Darryll J. Pines sent the following email to the campus community today:
The Maryland General Assembly concluded its 442nd legislative session earlier this week, marking the end of a session unlike any other. Legislators were masked and distanced, committee meetings were held virtually, and members of the public watched and participated remotely.
The General Assembly adopted Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget as introduced with no cuts to public higher education, and agreed to a supplemental budget adding $23.4 million to the University System of Maryland budget for programs directly targeted to public health. From this supplemental budget, the School of Public Health will receive $3.5 million for new faculty hires in social data science and public health. The governor also included $12.5 million in supplemental funds for FY 2022, and the General Assembly approved legislation providing funding for the E-Nnovation Initiative for an additional five years. The initiative offers a state match to private funds raised in support of endowed chairs at Maryland’s higher education institutions. UMD has been able to secure 11 endowed chairs through this program. The budget committees also made a request for plans to be developed to restore the 8% base funding that was cut from USM’s budget during the pandemic.
Further solidifying the commitment to the development of the flagship institution, legislators approved over $71 million for campus construction and infrastructure projects in the capital budget, including construction of a new chemistry building, completion of the School of Public Policy building, planning funds for an interdisciplinary engineering building, and quantum infrastructure. Legislators also sponsored many bills related to public higher education in Maryland that will directly impact UMD, including:
- Senate Bill 943 allows UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore to build on the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership and enhance academic programming and economic development in emerging fields. Importantly, the bill expands fields of study under the University of Maryland Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Development and increases funding to both campuses.
- Senate Bill 439/House Bill 125 allows student athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness starting July 1, 2023, joining multiple states across the country. We hope that the NCAA and/or Congress moves to create a nationwide policy for all student athletes so the rules and laws surrounding name, image, and likeness are consistent.
- House Bill 419/Senate Bill 460: creates a permanent funding source for the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute along with the Maryland Clean Energy Center at UMD. It also enables both to provide clean energy companies with seed funding, training and development support.
- Senate Bill 1/House Bill 1 makes additional substantial investments in Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It also brings to an end a more than 15-year-long legal battle that has now been resolved in a fair and equitable manner.
The General Assembly also adopted the governor’s proposed $1,000 bonus for full-time state employees, including those on our campus, in appreciation for hard work during this difficult year. I believe this bonus is well deserved, and I echo my appreciation.
We are grateful to Gov. Hogan, the General Assembly and staff for their dedication to make this a productive legislative session addressing important issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, police reform, K-12 and higher education, and more.
Thank you to all who advocated for UMD in Annapolis, including USM officials; our state government relations staff; many faculty, staff, students and administrators; our Alumni Association; and our UMCP Foundation Board of Trustees. Your support and commitment to the University of Maryland are exceptional.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland