Board of Trustees Holds the Line on Tuition

Submitted by Chuck Steenburgh on May 13, 2024 - 1:16 pm
May 13, 2024
By Chuck Steenburgh

The St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees held tuition flat for the fifth consecutive year at its May 10 meeting, while approving a modest increase in room & board rates for the 2024-25 school year.

“Despite the uncertainty in fall enrollments nationwide caused by the flawed rollout of the revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the Department of Education, overall the College is in a very good position financially,” said St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD.

“Fortunately, the long-term tuition strategy we put in place several years ago allows us to continue to hold the line on tuition increases.”

All 11 of the College’s peer institutions raised tuition and mandatory fees last year by an average of 3.3%. In absolute terms, SMCM charges lower tuition than it did in the 2013-2014 academic year—a difference magnified significantly by inflation over that period of more than 30%. The board-approved increase of 3.9% for room and board reflects the increased costs of goods and services as well as an increase in the Maryland minimum wage.

The meeting was led for the final time by outgoing Chair Susan L. Dyer, who completed the maximum three-year term. A commercial real estate developer and managing partner in a successful upscale restaurant in Leonardtown, Maryland, Dyer has more than 30 years of experience as a recognized leader and expert in information technology strategy, design, development and delivery of large-scale business and scientific systems.

“It has been my absolute pleasure to serve as chair of this outstanding Board of Trustees and our equally amazing faculty and exceptional staff,” said Dyer. “Under the tremendous vision and leadership of President Jordan, we have consistently focused on determining the best outcomes for our students, which truly reflects the heart of this institution.”

Under Dyer’s leadership, the Board of Trustees oversaw significant positive changes, including maintaining the aforementioned tuition freeze and long-range tuition strategy, the approval of new academic majors, the approval of the three-year Rising Tide strategic plan and an upgrade of the College’s credit rating. 

Dyer will be replaced as chair by John Bell, a 1995 graduate of SMCM and managing director for Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Bank. Bell is the first alumnus to chair the Board of Trustees. Other board officers—Vice Chair Paula Collins, Treasurer John C. Wobensmith SMCM ’93 and Secretary Nicolas Abrams SMCM ’99—will continue in their roles.

In other news, the Board was informed by President Jordan of her decision to retire in June of 2025, and of the transition of the College’s Taking the LEAD fundraising campaign to a How High Can We Fly phase for its final year after eclipsing its initial goal of $20 million a year ahead of schedule.

The Board also approved the 2024-25 meeting calendar, the awarding of degrees to the Class of 2024, a new attendance policy, diversity report, FY26-FY30 state capital budget proposal and its authority and responsibility matrix. In addition, the board received updates on the Middle States Reaffirmation of Accreditation self-study.

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