University System of Maryland Information

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University System of Maryland
Type Public education
PurposeHigher Education
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Region served
Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, Eastern Shore of Maryland, Western Maryland
11 universities, 2 regional higher education centers, and 1 research center [1]
Robert L. Caret [2]
Parent organization
Government of Maryland
$5.8 billion (2019)
21,565 [3]

About USM

The University System of Maryland (USM) is the state’s public higher education system. USM comprises the 11 universities, three regional higher education centers, and an environmental research center, located throughout the state of Maryland. All USM institutions have been ranked among the nation’s best by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger, The Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, and others.

With more than 176,000 students at all levels, USM institutions award 75 percent of bachelor’s degrees in Maryland. Nearly 50 percent of undergraduates graduate without debt and nearly 80 percent of USM graduates stay in and around Maryland. USM institutions attract more than $1.4 billion in research and development funding to the state annually and have helped foster the creation of more than 600 startup companies since 2011. The system’s Aa1 bond rating enables its institutions to borrow at lower costs to students, families and taxpayers, and related effectiveness and efficiency initiatives have saved Marylanders $600 million in administrative costs since 2004.

Key facts

Source: [4]

Educating Maryland's students

USM institutions educate the vast majority of Maryland’s college students and future leaders. In total, USM universities:

  • Enrolled 176,423 students in Fall 2018;
  • Annually award 75 percent or more of all bachelor’s degrees in Maryland;
  • Produced 26,658 bachelor’s degrees in FY 2018, a 39% increase over FY 2009;
  • Offer approximately 1,400 academic programs and concentrations.

Providing accessible, affordable education

In recent years, Maryland's public higher education system has become more affordable, improving in national rankings from 6th highest to 21st in tuition and fees and dramatically increasing financial assistance, particularly for families with the greatest need.

  • Nearly 50% of USM undergraduates graduate without debt;
  • USM institutions awarded nearly $150 million in financial aid in FY 2017;
  • 1/3rd of students transfer to USM’s four-year universities from Maryland community colleges;
  • USM has saved students $6.3 million in textbook costs since 2014.

Preparing engaged citizens and leaders

USM seeks to educate the next generation of Maryland’s citizens and leaders to build stronger, more engaged communities.

  • 80% of USM graduates stay in and around Maryland;
  • Approximately 500,000 USM alumni live in and contribute to Maryland communities;
  • USM students, faculty, and staff contribute millions of hours of volunteer service.

Increasing diversity and inclusion

USM actively promotes a greater awareness of and appreciation for diversity and strives to ensure that all of its faculty, staff, and students are fully included, regardless of ability, background, gender, gender identity, race or ethnicity, creed, perspective, or national origin.

  • Nearly 50% of undergraduates identify as underrepresented (defined as African American/Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian) and other minorities;
  • 8,000+ bachelor’s degrees were earned by underrepresented minority students in FY 2018;
  • USM increased STEM bachelor’s degrees earned by underrepresented minority students by 27% since FY 2016.

Driving innovation and economic growth

Through cutting-edge research, workforce development, company creation and tech transfer, USM is a key economic engine for Maryland.  The system:

  • Helped facilitate the creation of more than 600 start-up companies since 2011;
  • Secured 90 patents from USM-born research;
  • Attracts $1.4+ billion in R&D funding to Maryland each year;
  • Created $10 million Maryland Momentum Fund, which has invested more than $1,000,000 in four USM-born startup companies so far;
  • Hosts three research parks that support 250 tenants and 9,800 jobs.

Developing Maryland’s workforce

USM is the most significant producer of talented workers and educated citizens in Maryland.  USM institutions:

  • Awarded 11,115 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees in FY 2018, including 7,518 bachelor’s degrees;
  • Awarded 3,600+ healthcare professions degrees in FY 2018;
  • Increased cybersecurity degrees awarded in FY 2018 to 6,700;
  • Produced nearly 70% of teacher candidates graduating from Maryland Approved Programs.

Stewarding student and taxpayer dollars

USM is working to reduce costs for Maryland students, families and taxpayers.  The system:

  • Maintains favorable debt ratings from bond-rating agencies, including a rating of Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service. USM is one of only 26 public higher education institutions to earn one of Moody’s top two ratings;
  • Saved nearly $600 million in administrative costs through its Effectiveness and Efficiency initiatives.

Driving leading academic innovation

Faculty and staff at USM’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation harness emerging technologies and data-driven decision-making to increase educational access, affordability, and achievement. [5]

  • Edx/USMx, USM’s free online learning platform, offers several programs and courses with more than 270,000 course enrollments;
  • USM has saved students $6.3 million in textbook costs since2014;
  • Nine USM institutions participate in the Badging Essential Skills for Transitions (B.E.S.T.) initiative, which is designed to more clearly communicate graduates’ career-ready skills to employers in eight areas—Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Globalism, Interculturalism, Leadership, Problem Solving, and Professionalism.


The USM is governed by a board of regents and led by a chancellor, who serves as the CEO of the university system and leads the USM Office.

USM Board of Regents and Chancellor

A 17-member volunteer Board of Regents, including one full-time student, governs the University System of Maryland. [6] Appointed by the governor, the regents oversee the system's academic, administrative, and financial operations; formulate policy; and appoint the USM chancellor and the presidents of the system's 12 institutions. With the exception of the student member, each regent is appointed for a term of five years, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms. The student regent is appointed for a one-year term, and may be reappointed. Regents serve on the board without compensation. [7]

USM chancellors

USM Office

The USM Office, led by the system chancellor, is the staff to the Board of Regents. Staff members advocate on behalf of the 12 USM institutions, facilitate collaboration and efficiencies among the institutions, and provide information about the system to the public. [8]

With leadership from the USM Board of Regents and the chancellor, the system office coordinates academic programs, assists with long-range planning and resource management, facilitates private fund raising, and provides financial stewardship.

The system office is headquartered in Baltimore and has locations in Adelphi, Annapolis, and Columbia.


The University System of Maryland was created in 1988 from the merger of University of Maryland (UM) and Board of Trustees of State Universities and Colleges (BTSUC). [9]

Strategic Plan

In 2010, USM launched a 10-year strategy to increase the state’s economic competitiveness—and thereby improve Maryland residents’ quality of life—by increasing college completion rates, fueling the state’s innovation economy, adopting new ways of teaching, reducing costs and achieving efficiencies, and elevating USM’s national and international eminence. [10]

After taking office as USM chancellor in 2015, Robert L. Caret led a mid-term update of the plan. "The USM through 2020: A Renewed Vision for Powering Maryland Forward" revises several original goals and creates a new initiative to support campus equity, diversity, inclusion and civic engagement. This update precedes the development of a new strategic framework, which is expected to be unveiled in 2020. [11]


  1. ^ "USM Institutions - USM". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  2. ^ "Office of the Chancellor - USM". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "About USM - USM". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Welcome to USM Center for Academic Innovation - USM Center for Academic Innovation". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Office, University System of Maryland. "Board of Regents". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "2010 Maryland Code :: EDUCATION :: TITLE 12 - UNIVERSITY SYSTEM OF MARYLAND :: Subtitle 1 - Powers and Duties :: Section 12-102 - Board of Regents - Government of University; members". Justia Law. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Office, University System of Maryland. "USM Office". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "University System of Maryland - Origin & Functions". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Office, University System of Maryland. "University System of Maryland Strategic Plan: What's New for 2018". Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  11. ^

External links