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HIGHER EDUCATION

UMass Dartmouth board votes for 4.9% tuition hike

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DARTMOUTH – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Board of Trustees Committee approved a 4.9 percent tuition and fee increase for undergraduate students for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

On average, tuition and fees will rise by $580 for in-state undergraduate students. The school expects the tuition hike to raise an additional $25 million in net revenue.

The fee hike was approved with an amendment that said that UMass Dartmouth would freeze tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years if the state agreed to fund 50 percent of the cost of the university’s education programs.

“After much internal debate and soul-searching, we are trying to steer a moderate course on this difficult issue,” UMass President Robert L. Caret said in prepared remarks.

“On one hand, I was attracted to the idea of freezing tuition and fees, but that would have forced us to make dramatic and unacceptable cuts in a range of programs to offset rising labor and debt-service costs,” said Caret.

According to the university, in 2009, the state and students provided equal amounts of funding the UMass’s general education programs. This year, students paid 55 percent and the state paid 45 percent.

In voting to approve the fee increase, trustees said that UMass faces $63 million in rising costs in two areas next year as a result of contractual increases with its 10,620 unionized employees and increased debt service resulting from the university’s $2.4 billion renovation campaign.

The new tuition and mandatory fee rates are expected to receive final approval when the full board of trustees meets tomorrow at UMass Dartmouth.

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