ANNAPOLIS, SEPT. 3 -- The problem with higher education in Maryland is not the system of governance but rather insufficient money, the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus said in a position paper released today.

Black legislators called for increased funding for the state's 13 public colleges and universities, noting that during the past decade the portion of the state budget spent on higher education has diminished. They also asked for an additional $13 million in financial aid to poor and minority students. But unlike two other proposals aimed at overhauling Maryland's higher education system, the black legislators suggested only minor changes in the complex governance system of colleges and universities in the state.

Del. Howard P. (Pete) Rawlings (D-Baltimore), the chief architect of the plan, said that educators agree with the black legislators' report. "When you sample the opinion across the state, they {educators} say the current system . . . has worked well for this state," Rawlings said at a news conference. "Almost to a man and a woman, they say that funding is the key problem."

Improving Maryland's system of higher education is slated to be one of the major issues at next year's legislative session. Gov. William Donald Schaefer has said repeatedly that he is unhappy with the current organization, with four trustee boards supervising the institutions and a relatively weak agency overseeing higher education in general.

A commission appointed by Schaefer's predecessor, Harry Hughes, recommended last year that one "superboard" be created to govern the state's higher education system. All but two of the state's university presidents recommended a similar system to Schaefer earlier this summer.

"We fear that both of these plans would weaken the role of traditionally black institutions and would thereby nullify the advances made by blacks within the state system for higher education," the report states.

The state should instead concentrate on spending more money on higher education, the report states. Rawlings said the proportion of the state's general fund spent for higher education declined from 13 percent to 10 percent during the last decade, a decrease of $130 million in "constant" dollars. The report urges the state to make up the difference during the next three years.

And Rawlings said that representatives from the state's four predominantly black institutions, the NAACP and the Baltimore Urban League agreed at a meeting Wednesday night that the state should set a goal of dedicating 17 percent of the general fund to higher education, which is the amount North Carolina spends on its system. That system is often held up as a model for other states.

The report also recommends the additional financial aid money as a way to help curb the state's declining enrollment of black students.

Financial aid should be increased by $10 million next year, the report states, which would be more than double the $4.7 million offered in 1987. Twenty percent of the money would go to community college students, and 30 percent to colleges where 75 percent of the undergraduate students come from low- to moderate-income families.

It is unlikely, according to legislators involved in the higher education discussions, that Schaefer will recommend increases in funding without changes in a system he believes lacks accountability.

"If the governor is saying the only way we'll put more money into it is with a new program, then fine," said Sen. Decatur W. Trotter (D-Prince George's), chairman of the black caucus. But he said protection of black institutions and increasing opportunities for blacks in the system must be part of the plan.