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A History of State Support

The State of Maryland has maintained a partnership with its independent colleges and universities for over 230 years, beginning with the charters granted to Washington College in 1782 and St. John’s College in 1784. Today, the primary State support for independent higher education is through the Joseph A. Sellinger Aid Program, which was established in 1973. The program awards State aid to independent colleges through a formula linked to the per-student appropriation at certain public institutions. This self-adjusting formula remains in effect today and continues to be a national model, encouraging cooperation and collaboration among different segments of higher education.

While the Sellinger Program is unique to Maryland, state support for private higher education is not. All states except Nevada and Wyoming provide financial support for independent higher education. Through the Sellinger Program, MICUA colleges and universities receive 3% of the State’s investment in higher education, serve 64,000 students annually, and award 27% of all degrees conferred by a Maryland four-year institution.