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The Maryland Higher Education Commission rejected proposals for physical therapy doctoral programs at Johns Hopkins University and Stevenson University after other universities objected and argued that the proposals duplicated existing programs. The commission issued decision letters regarding the proposals Thursday.

The commission voted to overturn a previous decision by the commission’s acting secretary recommending the Johns Hopkins program move forward. The decision letter said the majority of the commission concluded the proposed program was “unreasonably duplicative” of programs at the University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically Black institution.

Commissioners came to a similar conclusion regarding Stevenson’s program. The commission didn’t recommend the program proceed when it was first proposed in 2021, after objections from the same institutions, and ultimately did the same after a resubmitted version was proposed in 2022. However, the commission recently revisited the proposal after seeking advice from the state attorney general’s office, which said not enough commissioners were present for the 2021 vote to have legal standing. The majority of the commission decided the program was also “unreasonably duplicative” and would cause “demonstrable harm.”