BALTIMORE (WJZ)— More than $300 million—that’s how much Maryland taxpayers have contributed to Coppin State University.
It’s an investment to help raise graduation rates, which Andrea Fujii explains is one of the lowest in the state.
With 3,800 students, Coppin State University is growing, adding two large buildings in the last several years.
“It’s a newer place so it promotes the learning experience I would say,” said Joseph Bell, Coppin student.
State comptroller Peter Franchot toured the facilities, examining how the state’s more than $300 million was spent.
“You see the type of stress that this region is under,” Franchot said. “This institution is going to lead the way back to a great recovery.”
Including the school’s recovery from a low graduation rate: 15 percent. That’s compared to the University of Maryland at 82 percent and Towson University at 64 percent.
Coppin students say some of their peers can’t stay in school.
“A lot of people from the community face obstacles besides school, if it’s work, if it’s home, just lack of resources,” said Nia Taft, Coppin student.
And the school president says some students just aren’t ready.
“Some students may not be as prepared as they should be academically and we have to address those needs,” said Dr. Reginald Avery, Coppin University President.
But he says new physical education and health and human services buildings are a start to getting the school back on track.
And by the fall of 2012 the school expects to break ground on a new science and technology building right across the street.
“Brand new facilities are great, but if they don’t do anything to help us, our students, then we’ve missed the boat,” Avery said.
The university’s graduation rate has increased 2 percent over the last year. But the president hopes to double it to at least 30 percent within the next several years.
The new science and technology building is expected to cost $80 million.