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By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
BOSTON – The University of Massachusetts board of trustees finance committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a tuition and fee freeze for in-state undergraduate students for a second consecutive year.
The vote represented the first step in a rate-setting process that will conclude June 18 when the full board of trustees meets at UMass Dartmouth. Under the proposed policy, tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students during the 2014-15 academic year would be as follows:
“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 in a statement.
Tuition and fees are being set as the Massachusetts legislature crafts a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Both the House and Senate versions of the budget contain approximately $519 million in state funding for the five-campus UMass system, a $40 million increase over the university’s current $479 million appropriation and consistent with Caret’s proposal last December.
Besides allowing for the tuition-and-fee freeze, the additional funding would renew the UMass “50-50” plan, in which the state provides 50 percent of funding for the school’s educational programs. Prior to the 50-50 plan, which began in the current fiscal year, students and their families bore more than half of the cost of UMass’ education programs, according to the school.
UMass has committed to freezing tuition and mandatory fees each year it receives full funding for the 50-50 program. If the final state budget contains 50-50 funding, state funding for UMass will have increased by $100 million, one of the largest increases realized by any public university in the nation, UMass said.
“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.”
The board of trustees committee vote on Wednesday granted Caret emergency authority to raise the mandatory fee for in-state undergraduates by up to 3.5 percent if funding for UMass in the new state budget takes “an unexpected plunge.” The measure was included in last year’s tuition policy as well, UMass said, but was not required due to adequate state funding.