USM to Coordinate Partnership for Grant to Boost Higher Education Productivity in Maryland

Lumina Foundation awards $1 million for statewide efforts to graduate more students within existing resources while ensuring quality

Adelphi, Md. (Nov. 24, 2009) -- Amid rising college enrollments, Gov. Martin O'Malley today announced Lumina Foundation for Education will spend up to $1 million on a multi-year partnership of public and private colleges and universities statewide that includes redesigning key courses to reduce cost and increase student learning and identifying policy changes that will help the state meet its college completion goals while containing costs. The grant, one of seven awarded nationally, is part of the foundation's effort to increase productivity by promoting significant changes in how states fund and deliver higher education.

The partnership, coordinated by the University System of Maryland, includes the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, the Maryland Independent College Association, the Maryland General Assembly and the Governor's Office.

"We are excited to share the successes of our system-wide Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) efforts with our community college and independent college partners across the state through this grant," said University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. (Brit) Kirwan. "We also are pleased with students' performance through our course redesign efforts, and we look forward to developing programs with our public and private partners that will allow us to educate students in a fashion that improves learning while reducing costs," he added.

"We are extremely pleased to work in partnership with Lumina Foundation to enhance the productivity of our colleges and universities and help more students realize their dreams of higher education," said Gov. Martin O'Malley. "Ensuring that our educational institutions are able to provide the highest quality education to the most students at the lowest cost is critical to our ability to equip Marylanders with the skills they need to be successful and to maintain Maryland's leading position in the innovation economy."

The grant, which will extend for up to four years, will launch an unprecedented statewide effort to redesign "bottleneck" courses - courses that have high costs and high student failure rates - at public and private colleges and universities to serve more students at less expense, improve the quality of the learning experience and free resources to redesign additional courses. Previous course redesigns within the University System of Maryland have shown promising results, reducing costs by as much as 50 percent and improving student success rates by up to 20 percentage points.

In addition, the grant will support work by the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland to identify and advocate for new policies or changes in existing policies that will encourage more degree completion at lower per-student costs.
"This round of grants represents Lumina's next steps in advancing a national agenda for raising the level of productivity within higher education," said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "Momentum is building to serve greater numbers of students by maximizing the use of existing resources and ensuring quality. These grants will move us toward a deeper understanding of how we can implement policies and practices that elicit more value from our shared investment in higher education."

The grants are part of Lumina's effort to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025 to meet economic demand. The state investments are designed to stimulate changes in policy and practice that can be emulated. States also receiving grants today include Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

In an effort to engage more states, the foundation also released Four Steps to Finishing First in Higher Education, a practical guide for state policymakers and higher education leaders. These documents describe steps states can take to achieve greater efficiency.


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About the Maryland Partnership
The Maryland Lumina Partnership includes the participation of each of the following: the University System of Maryland (; the Maryland Higher Education Commission (, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (, the Maryland Independent College Association (, the Maryland General Assembly ( and the Governor's Office (

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation for Education is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college - especially low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Our goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For additional information about Productivity, visit Lumina's Web site and

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719