By KARINE ABALYAN, Capital News Service
WASHINGTON - Military civilian employees and their families moving to Maryland in the base realignment process will qualify for in-state tuition at the University System of Maryland without having to meet the 12-month residency requirement, the Board of Regents decided last week.
Though Maryland expects tens of thousands of newcomers as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiatives, the number of people likely to accept the offer is estimated in "the low 100s," said Paul Stackpole, communications officer at the University System of Maryland.
The types of students enrolling will be more critical than the overall number, said retired Brig. Gen. Mike Hayes, director of the Office of Military and Federal Affairs at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
Hayes said people in their 40s and 50s, holding senior leadership positions are the ones most likely to appreciate the residency requirement waiver because they usually take career enhancement courses.
"The people who are attracted by this are important," he said, adding that the board's resolution gives civilian employees "another reason to come to Maryland."
Base restructuring will bring between 40,000 and 60,000 jobs to the state, said Maureen Kilcullen, spokeswoman at the Department of Business and Economic Development.
"The hope is that these jobs require such high skill levels that there will be a need for and an interest" in enrolling at the University System of Maryland, she added.
Over the next five years, armed services employees will arrive at Fort Meade, Andrews Air Force Base, the National Naval Medical Center and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
"Any initiative taken that makes Maryland residency attractive, that's going to have a . . . positive impact," said George Mercer, chief of public affairs at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
It's difficult to predict how big that impact will be, Mercer said, but in-state tuition is "certainly one more plus for coming here."
The board's decision "demonstrates the system's ongoing commitment to promoting the state's economic and workforce development," said Clifford M. Kendall, chairman of the Board of Regents, in a statement.
"It's another example of the collaborative effort that brought Maryland tremendous success in recent BRAC decisions," said Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich in a statement.
In 1996, the Board of Regents waived the residency requirement for civilian Navy employees whose jobs were moved to the Patuxent
River Naval Air Station, but Stackpole said the university system didn't keep track of how many people enrolled as a result.