Supporting Access and Opportunity to Maryland's Independent Colleges and Universities

MICUA is a voluntary association that provides public policy leadership in support of independent higher education, fosters cooperative efforts among member institutions and Maryland's public colleges and universities, serves as the official liaison between independent higher education and the State and Federal governments, and informs the citizens about the significance of its 15 member institutions.

Elevating Education, Enriching Communities

Maryland's independent colleges and universities provide

a broad spectrum of excellent educational opportunities, characterized by small class sizes and quality instructional programs. Every MICUA institution offers undergraduate classes and several offer graduate studies and continuing education for lifelong learners. Several MICUA institutions offer an education connected to a particular cultural or religious exploration. Some offer unique programs not available anywhere else in the State. These educational offerings create a strong incentive for Maryland's citizens to pursue higher learning within Maryland and attract out-of-state students within our borders.

Collectively these 15, fully accredited colleges and universities provide unique educational opportunities to 54,000 students annually, the majority of whom are Maryland residents. The MICUA member institutions have had a remarkable impact on the State's economic vitality, cultural enrichment, social betterment, and community fabric for over 230 years.


A Closer Look at MICUA & 

Its Impact

MICUA is a member-driven organization devoted to promoting independent higher education and the public benefit that it provides to meet educational, economic, and cultural needs. Established in 1971, MICUA represents diverse institutions that aim to increase accessibility to higher education for the widest range of students and families. MICUA advocates for private nonprofit institutions in matters relating to public policy or other interest. MICUA provides services to meet the needs of independent higher education and fosters cooperative efforts among its member institutions and all segments of higher education. As the voice of independent higher education in Maryland, MICUA seeks to inform the broader public about its member institutions and the vital importance of independent colleges and universities to the future of our State and nation.

-Sellinger + Capital 




The State of Maryland has maintained a partnership with its independent colleges and universities for almost 250 years, beginning with the charters granted to Washington College in 1782 and St. John’s College in 1784. The first State operating grant for higher education was awarded to Washington College in 1782. For almost two centuries, the State has provided line-item appropriations for operating expenses, land, academic buildings, residence halls, and equipment. Today, the primary State support for independent higher education is through the Joseph A. Sellinger Aid Program, which was established in 1973.


MICUA was founded in 1971 by independent college and university presidents who came together to raise the collective visibility of their institutions and to work jointly in meeting the academic and financial challenges they faced. The presidents created MICUA to serve as a unified voice for the independent institutions and to help advocate their cause to the State and the nation.

About that time, five private institutions of higher education in Maryland became financially insolvent and closed. The University of Baltimore—then a private institution—wrote to the State requesting a public takeover. These were the “signs of the times” for independent higher education, prompting the Maryland Council for Higher Education to warn that a financial crisis was imminent for many of the State’s independent institutions.

In response, the Governor appointed a panel of citizens from public and private institutions of higher education and local businesses to serve on a committee to evaluate private higher education in Maryland. The Committee was chaired by Philip Pear, member of the Maryland Council for Higher Education.

During the summer of 1972, the Pear Committee visited every private college in Maryland and hired an independent auditor to review their financial statements, enrollment data, staffing records, cost containment efforts, and other records. At the conclusion of its work, the Committee recommended that the State provide modest public support for private higher education to preserve and strengthen a dual system of higher education. The Committee concluded that it is in the best interests of the taxpayers of the State to adopt a State assistance program for eligible private institutions. As a result of the Pear Committee’s findings, the State established a program to provide State grants to independent institutions.

The State grant program—established in 1973—is known as the Joseph A. Sellinger State Aid Program, named for the former Loyola University Maryland president and higher education leader. The program awards State aid to independent colleges through a formula linked to their enrollment and to the per-student appropriation of selected four-year public institutions. This self-adjusting formula remains in effect today and continues to be a national model.

Today, a diverse and distinctive group of 15 institutions constitutes MICUA’s membership. These public-purpose institutions offer students a broad spectrum of educational opportunities. Some common features stand out. From the smallest to the largest, Maryland’s independent colleges and universities offer an education characterized by small classes and by close interaction between skilled faculty and motivated students. Every MICUA institution offers quality undergraduate education to a diverse student body, and increasingly institutions are expanding programs of graduate and continuing study to meet ongoing needs for lifelong learning. They are incorporating emerging technologies into their educational offerings in ways that reflect the societal and workplace demands of the information age. Maryland’s independent colleges and universities are collectively one of Maryland’s most diverse and valuable resources. As their advocate, MICUA is also an advocate for Maryland’s future.

What Sets US Apart

6 MICUA institutions rank in the top 10 Mid-Career Earnings of Graduates according to Payscale 2021-2022 rankings.

What Sets US Apart

Over 77,000 total degrees conferred by MICUA institutions in the past five years.

What Sets US Apart

90% ($80 million) of Sellinger Funding went to financial aid for Maryland students; 14,000 Maryland students across MICUA member institutions received Sellinger aid.

What Sets US Apart

Almost half of MICUA’s 54,000 students are students of color.

an impact


As the leading advocate for Maryland's independent higher education, we are making a significant impact on the educational landscape and beyond. Through our dedicated efforts and collaborative approach, we:


Strengthen Educational Excellence


Foster Partnerships


Influence Public Policy


Elevate Community Engagement


Empower Student Success


Promote Lifelong Learning

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 

- Nelson Mandela


meet our

Matthew Power

Matthew Power is President of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA), a voluntary association of 15 private, nonprofit colleges and universities located in Maryland. MICUA provides public policy leadership and support of higher education, fosters cooperative efforts among colleges and universities, and serves as the primary advocate for independent institutions and the State and federal governments.



Irnande Altema

Irnande Altema serves as Associate Vice President of Government and Business Affairs of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA). Irnande is a first-generation college graduate of Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU). Irnande has remained involved with her alma mater on various committees and boards that improve the student experience and re-engage alumni. After graduating from NDMU, Irnande continued her studies by earning both a Master of Science from Georgetown University and a law degree from Hofstra University. 

Associate Vice President of Government and Business Affairs

MORE ON irnande

Angela Sherman

Angela Sherman, brings extensive team leadership experience and impressive subject matter expertise to the position. Having served as faculty in the Chemistry Department at Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) for 25 years, Angela also brings to the position an intimate familiarity with the MICUA member institutions’ mission and purpose. While at NDMU, Angela served as Chemistry Department Chair, as President of the Faculty Senate, and as a member of most of the major committees at the University, including those charged with oversight of curriculum and academic policies and those tasked with promoting women. 

Vice President for Academic Affairs

MORE ON angela

Jamal Rollins

Jamal Rollins serves as the Research and Data Visualization Specialist for the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA). Jamal earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Planning from Towson University and a Master’s degree in Geospatial Information Systems from the University of Maryland College Park. He is excited to be part of the MICUA Team and provide new spatial avenues for analyzing and visualizing higher education data.  

Research and Data Visualization Specialist

Ashley Swift

Manager of Business Operations

Meet ashley

Stephanie Thomas

Director of Communications

Meet stephanie

Pam Nussbaumer

Executive Assistant

Meet Pam

Matthew Power

Prior to serving as MICUA’s President, Mr. Power served as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Anne Arundel County Maryland. In that role, he oversaw county government, including 18 departments, a $2 billion operating budget, a $700M+ capital budget, and a staff of 6,000. Mr. Power led the county’s response to COVID-19 as well as its recovery and reopening efforts. He actively modernized County operations and systems to improve services for county residents. He was also Chair of the County’s Pension Board, the Self Insurance Fund, and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. He spearheaded numerous new initiatives and was instrumental in securing the transfer of the Crownsville Hospital complex to the County. Prior to becoming CAO, he served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Land Use. In that role, he oversaw the Departments of Public Works, Inspections and Permits, Recreation and Parks as well as the Offices of Planning and Transportation.  



Previously, Mr. Power served as the Vice President for Government Relations for MICUA. In that role, he served as the primary lobbyist for higher education issues in Annapolis. He managed the association’s business affiliate program and led numerous consortium initiatives to drive down costs for member institutions.

Mr. Power was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley as the Director of StateStat in 2013. StateStat is a performance measurement and managerial process that made state government more efficient and accountable. In this role, Mr. Power chaired weekly meetings with Cabinet Secretaries and agency leadership to analyze agency performance, track priority initiatives, and question standard operating procedures. Agency data was carefully analyzed by a team of StateStat analysts, performance trends are closely monitored, and strategies to achieve improved performance are developed through a series of meetings designed to ensure relentless follow-up and reassessment. Mr. Power was a strong advocate for transparency and open data initiatives throughout Maryland.

Mr. Power was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning in 2007. He managed a broad range of operational, management and program functions. His roles with the Department of Planning included work as the Director of Policy Evaluation and Development. In 2002, he became Director of Operations for the department, reinvigorating the financial management of the agency and leading the merger of the Maryland Historical Trust into the Maryland Department of Planning. Mr. Power served as Chairman of the Maryland Heritage Areas and a member of the Maryland Green Building Council and was the Governor’s alternate on the Appalachian Regional Commission. He is a graduate of Leadership Maryland, Class of 2011 and a Certified Project Management Professional. He began his employment with the department in 1999. His professional career started with the Department of Legislative Services, providing legislative oversight to Maryland’s environmental agencies.

Angela Sherman

Among other things, she is passionate about ensuring gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields of higher education.

Prior to joining NDMU, Angela was an Adjunct Faculty member at both Loyola University Maryland and Towson University. Angela also spent nine years as a chemist in the industry before joining academia. Angela graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 1979 and she earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University in 1984.

Vice President for Academic Affairs


Irnande Altema

She has a strong passion for higher education, and she knows first-hand the tremendous support and exposure to various career opportunities that are afforded to students who attend independent institutions. Recently, Irnande served as the Policy Director of Special Populations at the Mental Health Association of Maryland. Prior to holding this position, Irnande was the Chief of Staff for Maryland State Senator Kathy Klausmeier and practiced civil litigation as an associate with the Law Office of Derek Challenger. She is admitted to both the Maryland State Bar, Maryland Federal Bar, and the United States Supreme Court. She founded FirstGenRISE to create a platform for first-generation law students, graduates, and professionals navigating academia and the workplace. Also, Irnande is the author of “The Rise of a First Gen” which journeys the struggles and successes of a first-generation American determined to rise: www.firstgenrise.com.

Associate Vice President of Government and Business Affairs


Ashley Swift

Ashley Swift serves as the Manager of Business Operations for the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA). She attended McDaniel College, a MICUA member institution, where she earned her undergraduate degree. She enjoys working with an association whose mission provides a positive impact on the State and the students served.

Manager of Business Operations


Stephanie Thomas

Stephanie Thomas serves as the Director of Communications of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA). Stephanie attended Notre Dame of Maryland University for both her undergraduate and graduate studies. In December 2019, she graduated with a Master of Arts in Leadership and Management.

She feels proud to work for an organization that strongly supports Maryland's independent colleges, including her alma mater. She was recently promoted to the Director of Communications position at MICUA and enjoys working with communications officers across MICUA's campuses.

Director of Communications


Pam Nussbaumer

Pam graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Nutrition. She also earned an M. Ed from Regent University and an M.S. from California State University, East Bay. She spent 20 years in the Coast Guard on active duty and in the reserves and retired as a senior officer. Her passion is for helping others succeed in their educational journey.

Executive Assistant


Board Members

Bradford Sims


Meet Bradford

Capitol Technology University is the only independent college in Maryland laser-focused on STEM careers and gives students the hands-on, real-world experience they need to enter today’s tech job market.

Kent Devereaux


Meet Kent

Goucher College is among the first colleges in the nation to pair required study abroad with a special travel stipend for every undergraduate, and is teaching its students to engage the world as true global citizens.

Debbie Ricker

Interim President

Meet Debbie

Hood College is the only four-year campus located in the City of Frederick and is committed to the integration of the liberal arts, the professions, and technology. Hood’s dedicated faculty and small classes contribute to an exceptional learning experience.

Ronald Daniels


Meet Ronald

Johns Hopkins University was the first research university in the U.S., founded in 1876 to educate students and advance human knowledge. Today the university brings more than $2 billion in research and development funding to the State annually.

Terrence Sawyer


Meet Terrence

Loyola University Maryland offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the Loyola College of Arts and Sciences, Sellinger School of Business and Management, and School of Education. The university counts over 30,000 alumni residing in Maryland.

Cecilia McCormick


Meet Cecilia

As Maryland’s only college of art and design, Maryland Institute College of Art has contributed to whole industries in the State—graphic design, advertising, and computer game design—which have grown up around the availability of MICA graduates.

Julia Jasken


Meet Julia

McDaniel College maintains a 120-year tradition of teacher preparation. On the graduate level, the McDaniel Master of Science degree program in deaf education has prepared teachers of deaf students nationwide. 

Gerard Joyce


Meet Gerard

One of Maryland’s oldest colleges, Mount St. Mary's University marked its bicentennial in 2008, when the institution celebrated 200 years of service to students and to society. 

Marylou Yam


Meet Marylou

Notre Dame of Maryland University offers classes in four schools: Arts and Sciences, Education, Nursing, and Pharmacy. 

Nora Demleitner


Meet Nora

St. John’s College is known for its distinctive “great books” curriculum, spanning over 2000 years of intellectual history. The college was chartered by the State of Maryland in 1784 and opened in 1786. 

Elliot Hirshman


Meet Elliot

Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie College) provides a distinctive career-focused education, encouraging internships and other forms of active learning for all students. The university also offers a graduate and professional school for working adults.

Weymouth Spence


Meet Weymouth

Founded in 1904 in Takoma Park, Washington Adventist University (formerly Columbia Union College) is the only four-year institution based in Montgomery County. The university plays a unique role in serving the area’s many immigrant students.

Michael Sosulski


Meet Michael

Washington College was founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, and is still committed to educating independent thinkers. It was the first college chartered by the State of Maryland.

Affiliate Members

Harav Boruch Neuberger


Meet Harav

Founded in 1933, Ner Israel Rabbinical College is one of the foremost centers of Torah learning in the world. Receives no direct State aid. 

Fr. Phillip Brown, P.S.S

President Rector

Meet Fr. Phillip

Founded in 1791, the primary purpose of St. Mary's Seminary & University is to provide an outstanding spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral preparation of candidates for Roman Catholic priesthood. Receives no direct State aid.