UMass poised for major state funding increase that would result in tuition and fee freeze
BOSTON -- Stating that "we are one step away from a potentially historic moment for the University of Massachusetts," UMass President Robert L. Caret today told the University's trustees that he is hopeful that the Massachusetts Senate will fund UMass at a level equal to what the House and Governor Deval Patrick have proposed when it unveils its Fiscal Year 2014 state budget proposal.
If that happens, UMass will be on course to receive a significant funding increase in the fiscal year that begins July 1 - an increase that would allow UMass to freeze tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 academic year.
"At a time when states across the country continue to disinvest in public higher education, Massachusetts stands poised to take a major step forward and express its support for and commitment to the students of the University of Massachusetts system," President Caret said.
President Caret provided a budget-process update as the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees met in Boston, primarily for the purpose of approving honorary degrees to be awarded at upcoming commencement exercises.
To date, Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts House have proposed $478 million in funding for the five-campus UMass system for the upcoming fiscal year - a $39 million increase over this year's funding level.
If the Massachusetts Senate were to propose and approve the same level of funding, UMass would then seem to be on course to receive $478 million, given the agreement of the three entities involved in the budget process - thereby putting the tuition and fee freeze clearly in focus.
"We appreciate the steps that the Governor and the House of Representatives recently have taken, given the support they evidence for UMass and the financial relief their actions would provide for our students and their families," President Caret said.
"The Massachusetts Senate has traditionally and historically made UMass and public higher education a top priority, and we are hopeful that the Senate will continue this much-appreciated posture," President Caret added.
Henry M. Thomas III, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, said: "We are hopeful that Massachusetts will send a message to the rest of nation -- and that will be a message of further support for public universities and for all that these institutions do to transform lives, build the economy and drive social progress."
For the past year, President Caret has advanced his 50-50 proposal, under which the state and students would provide equal shares of the funding for the University's education programs.
This year, students and their families are providing 57 percent of the funding via tuition and fees and the state the remaining 43 percent. Five years ago, that was exactly reversed, with the state paying 57 percent and students and their families 43 percent.
Under the proposal put forward by President Caret, the state would provide UMass with nearly $100 million in additional funding over the next two years, thereby achieving the 50-50 balance in 2014-2015. UMass would freeze tuition and the mandatory curriculum fee during each of the next two academic years as long as sufficient funding were approved.
Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073, Ann Scales, 617-287-4084
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