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Ehrlich: University tuition freeze 'hurt higher education'

Thumbnail image for Ehrlich mug.jpgFormer Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of the state's four-year freeze on public university tuition -- a key initiative of his Democratic successor -- saying it had hindered the system's growth in recent years.

"The freeze hurt higher education," Ehrlich said during an hourlong appearance on "Midday" on Baltimore's WYPR radio.

Ehrlich, who is running again this year, told host Dan Rodricks that Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) "was guilty of demagoguing on this issue." Ehrlich said that at the time he left office in 2007, tuition rates at University System of Maryland campuses were "the best deals in the world."

During Ehrlich's tenure, in-state tuition at some schools, including the flagship campus at College Park, rose more than 40 percent. The increases, approved by university regents, came largely in response to cuts in state funding early in Ehrlich's term, as he sought to close budget shortfalls.

As a candidate for governor in 2006, O'Malley successfully lobbied the Democratic leadership in the legislature to implement a tuition freeze for in-state students. O'Malley continued the freeze for the first three years of his term as governor.

This year, O'Malley proposed a budget that would allow tuition to rise by 3 percent next fall, ending the freeze. With fees factored in, the increases at some campuses will be a little higher, under action taken by university regents last week.

In-state tuition and fees at the University of Maryland at College Park, for example, will rise in the fall from $8,053 to $8,416 -- a 4.5 percent jump.

O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell said the four-year freeze had "made college education affordable again for thousands of Maryland students and their families."

"I suppose massive increases in tuition will be a part of Mr. Ehrlich's platform in this campaign, just as it was a defining characteristic of his one failed term as governor," Russell added.

By John Wagner  |  April 21, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  
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Yeah, Bob's would've been real sweet to not be able to afford college during the last couple of years when the nation was going through a recession. Bob is brilliant!

Posted by: hamsandwich | April 21, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

it's easy for erlich to be so stupid -- he went to princeton and gilman on scholarships.

bob, you must have gotten hit in the head too many times playing football.

bob you and michael steele make a pair -- dumb and dumber.

please consider another line of work -- go be the manager at an arbutus mcdonalds or or burger king; but not the governor of maryland.

dude you're just not smart enough.

Posted by: FranknErnest | April 22, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

You people seem to want something for nothing. It's your education why should I have to pay for it?

Posted by: cheverly1 | April 22, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

You people seem to want something for nothing. It's your education why should I have to pay for it?

Posted by: cheverly1 | April 22, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse


Because more affordabe education means that more Marylanders get educated and get better paying jobs. If more people have better paying jobs, they pay more taxes. If they pay more taxes, that means we all get better services, including you.

You either pay a little bit now for education or you pay a lot more later due to underfunded government services. In that respect, funding higher education is a good value.

Posted by: Cavan9 | April 22, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The point is that a certain number of people can afford to pay more in tuition each year. What Ehrlich did as Governor was to allow general tuition increases while increasing the amount of money for need based scholarships to help those who couldn't afford an increase. The effect of O'Malley's tuition freeze has been to subsidize both rich and poor at State expense. No wonder the State's in such a fiscal mess.

Posted by: donh1 | April 22, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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