Action is part of FY21 balanced budget plan that includes difficult decisions but preserves financial stability at a time of unprecedented challenges
BOSTON — Responding to the financial hardships that many Massachusetts families are facing, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees voted today to freeze tuition rates for in-state undergraduate and graduate students for the 2020-21 academic year.
Across the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses, tuition will average $14,722 for the nearly 48,000 in-state undergraduate students before financial aid is provided. This keeps UMass mandatory charges nearly $1,000 lower than the average for New England public research universities.
Students will continue to receive nearly $1 billion in federal, state, private, and university-funded financial aid in FY21. University-funded financial aid, primarily scholarships and grants, has been increased by $99 million or 38 percent over the last five years with 94 percent going to Massachusetts residents.
Tuition for the 9,500 graduate students will continue to range from $14,590 to $18,433 at the four campuses. The board set tuition rates for UMass Medical School at its April meeting.
“Even as UMass, like higher education institutions across the country, faces significant budget cuts due to pandemic-related financial challenges, we need to do all that we can to keep a high quality UMass education within financial reach of Massachusetts students,” UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Rob Manning said. “I commend President Meehan, the campus chancellors and their teams for making this possible through sound and innovative management.”
“Holding the line on tuition is simply the right thing to do this year as so many students and families are facing stress and uncertainty created by an unprecedented national health emergency and economic downturn,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “That means controlling student charges and supporting financial aid so our students are able to pursue their dream of earning a UMass degree.’’
In freezing tuition this year, the university is setting aside its recent practice of increasing tuition at the rate of inflation, foregoing $18.6 million in revenue for the coming year. The loss of revenue is offset, in part, by ongoing efforts of the university to reduce administrative costs. For example, a procurement consolidation effort launched in January is projected to save $15 million to $20 million by the end of this fiscal year and an ongoing “efficiency and effectiveness” program started in 2013 has saved $124 million.
UMass trustees today also approved a $3.3 billion operating budget that is $171 million less than last year’s budget.
President Meehan said the budget, which funds university operations for the fiscal year that began on July 1, “is in balance at a time when many other colleges and universities, public and private, find themselves in great financial jeopardy. This required the university leadership to make difficult choices, but we take these actions to preserve stability and meet the long-term needs of students. We are continuing to advocate for the highest possible level of state funding and passage of the federal HEROES act, which could translate into $119 million in emergency funding for UMass.”
Tuition was also frozen for out-of-state graduate students at the Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses.