The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Place on Highest Price Public Colleges List is Old News


July 3, 2014
Press Release #14-048

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In a story posted online this week, CBS News and The Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, used old data from 2012 to conclude that St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one of the highest priced public institutions in the country. The ranking however, is no longer justified. Maryland’s Public Honors College has held the line on cost increases with a tuition freeze for all in-state students in 2013-14, and actually reduced tuition by 8.6% for 2014-15. The college went a step further to freeze tuition for out-of-state students next year. College officials estimate the sticker price ranking for St. Mary’s will change dramatically once the current tuition rates are analyzed.

The federal list, while designed to pressure colleges and universities into holding tuition down, has not stopped others from recognizing St. Mary’s value. Even before the recent freezes and reductions in tuition, Kiplinger’s Best Values in Higher Education 2014 ranked St. Mary’s College of Maryland as one of the top 50 public college education values in the country. This recognition reflects the fact that the cost for a degree at St. Mary’s compares very well at the national level. A high graduation rate of 80%, a low loan debt ratio at graduation, a high percentage of students completing their bachelor’s degree within 4 years, and an outstanding academic reputation were considerations in the high value ranking. U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges also currently ranks SMCM at #5 among all public liberal arts colleges in the country.

The college affordability list went further to rank institutions on the net price students pay out-of-pocket after financial aid has been awarded. St. Mary’s fares much better after factoring in scholarships, grants, and other aid available. New SMCM president Tuajuanda Jordan said, “Maintaining access for students seeking the challenge of the Honors College is one of our top priorities. After all, what the family must contribute after scholarships and aid is often the bottom line for many families. St. Mary’s students graduate with one of the lowest debt loads among all colleges and universities in Maryland. Our success in offering a great education that families can afford is the real story here.”

With the support of the Maryland legislature, SMCM has not seen a tuition increase to MD students since 2012. Delegate Jon Bohanan, chair of the Maryland House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development noted after the recent tuition reduction, “We have been able to address the tuition challenge in a significant way for Maryland students attending St. Mary’s. The college is a tremendous asset for our state, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to moderate the cost of attendance.”

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