Pointing to the financial hardships that many Massachusetts families are facing and in consultation with campus chancellors, UMass President Marty Meehan today said he will recommend a tuition freeze for the university’s nearly 50,000 in-state undergraduate students during the upcoming academic year.
“During this time of stress and uncertainty for our students and their families, we need to keep our high-quality programs and the benefits of a UMass degree as accessible and affordable as possible,” said President Meehan, who will formally propose the freeze when the Board of Trustees meets next month. “In addition to keeping tuition at current levels, we are taking steps to ensure that those students facing the steepest financial challenges will not see their dream of earning a UMass degree cut short.”
“President Meehan’s recommended tuition freeze demonstrates his concern for our students and their families and the financial hardships many are facing during these unprecedented times. This is a concern that our chancellors and members of the Board of Trustees share. At this critical moment, we need to keep the path to opportunity and economic recovery open and accessible, and I commend Marty for proposing this tuition freeze,” said Robert J. Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees.
UMass can also be expected to continue its practice of directing significant amounts of its own funds to direct grant aid for students in the upcoming academic year. During the 2019-2020 academic year, UMass projects that it will direct $395 million in financial aid to students – an increase of $124 million or 46 percent over five years. UMass students received nearly $1 billion in federal, state, private, and institutional financial aid in FY20.
The Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance is due to set student charges at its June 10 meeting with a full Board vote on June 17.
President Meehan noted that he is asking the Board of Trustees to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduates at a time when UMass is also grappling with major pandemic-related financial challenges, but said the proposed freeze was “the appropriate course and the right thing to do.”
In response to COVID-19 challenges faced by students as they were transitioned to remote learning at mid-semester, each of the UMass campuses has established emergency funds:
- UMass Amherst’s COVID-19 – Student Relief Fund
- UMass Boston – Beacon Student Aid Fund and special student laptop campaign
- UMass Dartmouth – Student Emergency Aid Fund
- UMass Lowell – Student Emergency Needs Fund
- UMass Medical School – Learner Emergency Relief Fund
All UMass campuses are also in the process of distributing federal emergency aid under the recently passed CARES Act. These funds are provided to students who have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations. Eligible expenses include technology, housing, child care, and transportation.
In addition, university campuses reimbursed a total of $65 million in room and board this semester after residence halls were closed in response to COVID-19.