Press Release - Maryland Colleges and Universities Receive Top Grades

November 30, 2000

Maryland's Colleges and Universities Receive 'Top Performing' Grades in National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education's First Report Card

Maryland's public and private institutions of higher learning received generally very good grades - including "A's" in the level of participation and benefits to the state's economy - in the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education's (NCPPHE) first state report card, Measuring Up 2000, issued earlier today.

The report card measures the performance of higher education in each of the 50 states in six performance categories - preparation, participation, affordability, completion, benefits, and learning. Maryland and its institutions received an A for participation (percentage of the population ages 18-24 enrolled in education or training beyond high school) and an A for benefits (a high percentage of college graduates strengthens a state's economy), a B+ for preparation (the way a state readies high school students for college), a B- for completion (graduation rates), and a D for affordability (tuition levels). Along with every other state in the nation, Maryland received an "incomplete" mark for measuring the educational performance of its college students. NCPPHE noted that the incompletes "highlight a gap in our ability as a nation to say something meaningful about what students learn in college."

Reacting to the report card, USM Chancellor Donald N. Langenberg said, "Maryland compares very well with other states, which is due in no small measure to the strong support from Governor Glendening and the General Assembly. The objectivity of the NCPPHE and the apparent soundness of its methodology lend credibility to the report, which will be a very useful tool for educators, state leaders, and the public at large."

It's one thing for our individual institutions to do well in rankings by a U.S. News or a Kaplan," Langenberg continued. "But this survey looks at a state's total system of higher education, including public and private institutions, and then measures performance, not reputation. Yes, it is of vital importance that we attract research dollars, brilliant faculty, and inspired students. But to know how good a job we are doing, we must also measure how our graduates are benefiting Maryland, and how our entire educational system, K-16, is serving students. Thanks to Measuring Up 2000, we can now compare our performance to that of nearby states, or other states where we have peer institutions."

Virginia, for example, earned B's and C's on the 2000 report card. Pennsylvania earned one A, in completion. New Jersey received A's in preparation and benefits. 

Nathan A. Chapman Jr., chairman of the University System Board of Regents, said he was pleased with most of Maryland's grades, but noted that the state must do more to make tuition affordable for a greater percentage of the population.

"I believe the institutions in the USM generally are affordable for a good percentage of the state's population, but as this survey indicates, we have more work to do. We must increase the availability of scholarships, and we must reach out with financial aid packages to every eligible student. We know this money will be well spent, as shown by the 'A' we received for the benefits our graduates make to the state's economy. Providing greater access to higher education through financial aid begins a cycle with a wonderful end result. Our Governor recognizes this, and with his continued support we will improve."

Chapman said the USM already is examining ways to close the gap in the graduation rates of African-American students and white students, as noted by the NCPPHE. According to the report, for every 100 African-American students enrolled in Maryland colleges and universities, 10 receive a degree or certificate. Comparatively, 16 white students out of 100 are graduating in the state.

"Particularly for African-American students, the graduation rate must improve and this is a key component of the strategic plan the USM recently adopted," Chapman said.

The NCPPHE was established in 1998 with a founding grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization not affiliated with any government agency, political party, or educational institution. The purpose of its studies and reports, including Measuring Up 2000, is to "stimulate public policies that will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of higher education."

The report, as well as state-to-state comparisons, can be viewed at


Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739