Governor Moore Proclaimed February 21, 2024 Independent Higher Education Day

February 22, 2024

Governor Wes Moore proclaimed February 21, 2024 “Independent Higher Education Day in the State of Maryland!” The Governor’s recognition highlights the successful long-standing partnership between the State of Maryland and its independent colleges and universities. This day acknowledged the State’s independent institutions for their contributions to workforce development, scientific discoveries, global competitiveness, civic participation, and service to the community. Senator Craig Zucker, representing District 14 in Montgomery County and Delegate Stephanie Smith, representing District 45 in Baltimore City, announced Independent Higher Education Day on the floors of the Senate and House.

For over 240 years, Maryland’s independent colleges and universities have partnered with the State to increase educational opportunities, improve college access, and support local businesses. Today, Maryland boasts a distinctive and diverse array of private, nonprofit institutions of higher education that are committed to serving the public missions of education, research, and the advancement of knowledge. The Sellinger program was established over 50 years ago, in 1973, by the State of Maryland to preserve and strengthen a dual system of higher education and to promote collaboration between public and independent nonprofit colleges and universities.

In celebration of Independent Higher Education Day, over 100 MICUA students and campus leaders participated in 115 meetings with elected officials and a luncheon at the Calvert House in Annapolis, Maryland, which provided students an opportunity to connect. The event featured welcoming remarks by Dr. Weymouth Spence, President of Washington Adventist University and Chair of the MICUA Board of Trustees, a presentation on legislative advocacy by Matt Power, President of MICUA, and insights about the legislative process from Vicki Gruber, Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.

During the meetings with legislators, students advocated for fair and equitable funding of the Sellinger Formula.  The FY 25 budget proposes a nearly 50% reduction to the Sellinger Program. Students informed legislators about the dire consequences to financial aid for Maryland students if the program is cut in half.

Dr. Weymouth Spence emphasized the significance of Governor Moore proclaiming February 21, 2024, as Independent Higher Education Day, stating, “Independent Higher Education Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the unique contributions of institutions like ours to the academic, social, and economic fabric of our nation. The Sellinger Formula has been instrumental in supporting independent higher education institutions like ours. It recognizes the importance of equitable funding for all colleges and universities, ensuring that students have access to quality education regardless of their background or financial status.”

Independent Higher Education Day not only celebrated the essential role of Maryland’s independent colleges and universities but also spotlighted the critical part they play in shaping a dynamic, collaborative educational landscape. As students continue to advocate for fair funding and support, the partnership between the State and these institutions remains a cornerstone for advancing education and innovation in Maryland.