BOSTON – A second consecutive tuition-and-mandatory-fee-freeze for in-state undergraduate students received preliminary approval today as the UMass Board of Trustees finance committee passed rates for the 2014-2015 academic year. The vote in favor of the freeze was unanimous.
“At a time when there is a national focus on controlling cost and curbing debt, the University of Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are doing something about it,” UMass President Robert L. Caret said.
“We are serious about addressing what has become a critical issue for families across the state and throughout the nation,” President Caret added. “And while it is vitally important that we take these steps to address affordability, it is equally important that we continue to maintain a strong emphasis on quality, as the world we live in demands excellence -- and the students who come to UMass deserve and receive nothing less.”
“This action is a testament to a partnership that has been forged among the University, Governor Patrick and the Legislature,” said UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Henry M. Thomas III. “This is a partnership that looks to the student and seeks to provide opportunity and affordability but also has been formulated to deliver long-term prosperity to the state.”
Said President Caret: “I want to thank Governor Patrick, House Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Murray and the entire Legislature for the unprecedented levels of support we are receiving. Massachusetts is making a national statement on behalf of affordability and excellence, and the students of today and tomorrow will benefit from their extraordinary commitment and vision.”
Meeting in Boston, the Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance approved tuition-and-fee rates for the upcoming academic year – the first step in a two-step rate-setting process that will conclude June 18 when the full Board of Trustees meets at UMass Dartmouth.
Student charges vary from campus to campus, but, under the proposal, tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students at UMass Amherst would remain at $13,258. The cost of attending the University’s flagship campus with room and board factored in would be $24,215.
Tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students (not including room and board) at the other UMass campuses would be:
- Boston: $11,966
- Dartmouth: $11,681
- Lowell: $12,447
Tuition and fees are being set as the Legislature is crafting a new state budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
The House and Senate versions of the budget both contain funding for the five-campus UMass system of just less than $519 million – a funding level consistent with the 50-50 proposal advanced by President Caret after he assumed the UMass presidency in July 2011.
President Caret’s 50-50 plan called for a two-year, $100 million increase in state funding for UMass, with the goals of strengthening the University overall and of equalizing the amount of money students and the state provided for educational programs. UMass said it would freeze tuition and mandatory fees in each of the years it received full funding of the 50-50 program. UMass received the first year of 50-50 funding during 2013-2014 and froze tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students.
If the second installment of 50-50 funding is contained in the 2014-2015 state budget when it is finalized, state funding for the five-campus UMass system (when measured by the state appropriation as augmented by a corresponding increase in fringe-benefit funding for employees) will have increased by $100 million, one of the largest increases realized by any public university in the nation.
In today’s vote, the Administration and Finance committee gave President Caret emergency authority to raise the mandatory fee for in-state undergraduates by up to 3.5 percent -- but the committee and President Caret made clear that this power would be used only if funding for UMass in the new state budget took an unexpected plunge. Trustees gave President Caret similar power last year, but given that funding levels for UMass remained intact throughout last year’s budget process, the 2013-2014 tuition-and-fee freeze also remained in place.