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Trustee committee votes to maintain tuition and fee rates at current levels

BOSTON - The UMass Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance today unanimously voted to keep tuition and mandatory fee rates unchanged in the 2010-2011 academic year, which means that the system-wide tuition and fees average for in-state undergraduate students would remain at $11,048.

"This is the best outcome at this time for our students and their families," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson. "With this action, the University is maintaining the level of quality that our students expect and deserve, while at the same time preserving access and affordability."

The Board's finance panel recommended keeping tuition and fees at current levels after President Wilson said that he and the campus Chancellors, along with faculty and staff, are working hard to preserve excellence and affordability.

"It is not always easy to strike this balance, but every year, this is what we seek to do, as quality and affordability must exist in equal measures," said President Wilson, who noted that the ability to preserve tuition and fees at current levels remains tied to the University receiving sufficient levels of state funding and federal stimulus funds in Fiscal Year 2011.

If sufficient funding does not materialize, the University would have to weigh the possibilities of an emergency fee increase and additional cuts, he noted.

"State funding, and more recently state funding augmented by federal stimulus funds, provides us with the subsidy we need to provide an outstanding education for a fraction of what private institutions charge," President Wilson said. "We are grateful for the funding that we receive and understand that state budget-makers are forced to make painful choices as they apportion scarce state funds. Our duty at the University of Massachusetts is to ensure that our academic programs continue to function at the highest levels, so we too must always stand ready to make difficult choices in furtherance of the greater good."

Trustee James J. Karam, chairman of the Committee on Administration and Finance, said that members of the Board and the University's other friends and supporters should be advocating for the highest possible level of funding for UMass.

"Now is the time for Trustees to have their voices heard in the halls of the State House in support of the University's budget and funding needs. Key conversations will soon be taking place and it is important that the University's constituencies continue to advocate respectfully, responsibly and ardently," Karam said.

The student charges reaffirmed today would see tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduates remain at the following levels:

  • Amherst, $11,732
  • Boston, $10,611
  • Dartmouth, $10,358
  • Lowell, $10,506

Those tuition and fee levels were originally approved by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees in February 2009, but the effect of that increase was partially offset by a fee rebate the University put in place last summer, after Gov. Deval Patrick directed $150 million in federal stimulus funds to UMass. While the Governor proposed $49.3 million in federal stimulus funds for UMass in his Fiscal Year 2011 state budget proposal, it seems highly unlikely that the University would be able to afford another rebate.

In his presentation to the Committee on Administration and Finance, President Wilson outlined the efficiency steps that the University has put in place over the past 18 months, including:

  • The elimination of 350 positions through layoffs, attrition and retirements
  • Further personnel savings as a result of furloughs, partial campus closings, salary freezes and reduced overtime
  • At UMass Amherst, two colleges being consolidated into one
  • The UMass system moving most of its employees from Boston to a University-owned building in Shrewsbury, achieving a rental savings of $1 million a year

President Wilson also noted that UMass students this year had 93 percent of their demonstrated financial need met via financial aid. Additionally, 57 percent of the University's in-state undergraduate students received need-based aid.

The finance committee's recommendation on tuition and mandatory fees will go before the full Board of Trustees when it meets June 9 at UMass Lowell.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073

 

6/2/10

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Robert P. Connolly
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617.548.0238 (cell)
617.287.7073 (office)
rconnolly@umassp.edu

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