UMass to seek $519 million in state funding, increase would trigger second consecutive tuition-and-fee freeze
BOSTON - UMass President Robert L. Caret today announced that the University of Massachusetts will seek $519 million in state funding for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2014 - a sum that would advance the University's quest for student-state funding parity and allow for tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students to be frozen for a second consecutive year.
"With this request, we are asking the Commonwealth to maintain its position as a national leader in restoring funding for public higher education," President Caret said as the Board of Trustees' Committee on Administration and Finance met in Boston.
"The additional funding we are seeking would bring about a second consecutive tuition-and-fee freeze, a remarkable achievement that would be welcomed by families across the Commonwealth," President Caret added.
President Caret noted that this year's freeze has significantly improved the university's standing on the measure of affordability.
The five-campus UMass system is seeking $519 million in state funding for the upcoming fiscal year, a $40 million increase over the University's current $479 million appropriation.
Based on a proposal from Governor Deval Patrick and as a result of the support of the House and Senate, UMass received a $40 million funding increase during the current fiscal year - the largest budget increase in the University's history. In addition to allowing for the tuition-and-fee freeze, the additional funding is returning UMass to a posture where the state provides 50 percent of the funding for the University's educational programs. In recent years, students and their families have been bearing more than half of the cost.
"Governor Patrick and the leaders and members of the House and Senate understand that UMass plays a critical role in defining the Commonwealth's social and economic future," said Henry M. Thomas III, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. "Because of the leadership and vision we see from the State House, UMass continues to provide a high-quality education to an ever-expanding number of students, while at the same time is able to take critical steps toward preserving access and affordability."
The UMass 50-50 Plan and the quest for the tuition-and-fee freeze was applauded by student leaders.
"The support of the Governor and the people of the Commonwealth for students at UMass has been tremendous this past year," said Patrick Lowe, student trustee from UMass Medical School in Worcester.
"The 50-50 split in funding reached for Fiscal Year 2014 was a tremendous step in the right direction and provides an encouraging sign that the Governor and Legislature recognize the importance of this system and its students," said UMass Lowell Student Trustee Phillip J. Geoffroy. "The 50-50 model is a reasonable way for the burden of paying for UMass to be shared by students and the state, both of whom benefit so greatly from the University."
Said UMass Boston student trustee Nolan O'Brien: "Maintaining the 50-50 funding scenario is crucial to the future of public higher education in this state. It will be the foundation for ensuring that the UMass system remains an accessible reality to all those who wish to further their education."
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