For Contacting Maryland Elected Officials - Sellinger Program Talking Points

Dear Goucher College Faculty and Staff,

I want to take a moment to thank those of you who have already contacted Governor O’Malley and other Maryland elected officials about the cuts to the Sellinger Program last week by the Board of Public Works (BPW).  Even though the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, we must not let up – it is very important that we keep the momentum going. 

I also want to stress that the most effective means of communication with the Governor and other local legislators is by writing them a short, personal e-mail or letter, calling their offices directly, or having face-to-face contact with them.  To assist you in these conversations, below are a set of brief talking points for your use:

  • Please support the Sellinger Program, which provides state aid to Maryland’s independent colleges and universities.   
  • Under the O’Malley administration, the state appropriation for the Sellinger Program is 23% below the FY 2007 appropriation.   In contrast, funding for public universities is up 13% and funding for community colleges is up 21%.  This is an unfair burden on Maryland’s independent colleges and universities.
  • The Sellinger Program is a national model that encourages cooperation and collaboration among the different segments of higher education.
  • While the Sellinger Program is unique to Maryland, state support for higher education is not: only four states in the nation fail to provide such support.
  • In FY 2010, MICUA institutions dedicated over 80 percent of Sellinger funds in the form of financial aid to Maryland residents, with the majority of that aid distributed based on need.
  • If Sellinger aid were not available, many Maryland students would attend in-state public universities, a more expensive taxpayer option, or leave the state altogether, taking their tuition dollars and talents with them. 
  • Based on the most recent data available, taxpayers pay $36,000 for each degree conferred at a public university, compared to $6,000 for each degree conferred at an independent college or university.
  • MICUA undergraduates are 60 percent more likely to graduate in four years than students at public universities, effectively controlling college costs and contributing to state revenues.
  • The amount of state assistance that the MICUA member institutions receive through the Sellinger Program is less than four percent of all state operating support for higher education, yet the return on investment is significant – the MICUA institutions confer almost one-third of all degrees in Maryland annually.
  • Maryland voters believe in independent colleges – a recent statewide poll of registered voters by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies showed overwhelming support for the current system of state grants to independent colleges and universities.

 Please take a moment to contact the Governor and other Maryland elected officials about the Sellinger Program in the days and weeks ahead.  If you can let Wendy Belzer Litzke know what offices you have contacted, we would appreciate it so that we can better coordinate our outreach efforts. 

 Thank you again for your support on this very important issue for all independent colleges in Maryland, including Goucher.

Sandy Ungar