UMass leaders praise Healey-Driscoll budget

UMass President Marty Meehan praised the Healey-Driscoll administration’s first budget proposal (House 1) for its investments in UMass.

“Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll have made a bold statement about the importance of the University of Massachusetts to the socio-economic future of the Commonwealth,” said Meehan. “These transformational investments would expand access to our world-class education and enhance the impact of our statewide research enterprise. On behalf of the UMass community of 74,000 students, 17,000 faculty and staff, and 500,000 alumni, we thank the Healey-Driscoll administration for their commitment to UMass.”

House 1 increases the university’s base budget by $19.3 million (3 percent), and funds a UMass proposal to provide “cost certainty” for new in-state undergraduate students. The budget also significantly increases investments in state financial aid programs and campus facilities, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

The “cost certainty” proposal, under which new in-state undergraduate students would enjoy a locked-in tuition rate for four years of education at the university’s Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses, was a concept included in the university’s annual report to the Legislature earlier this year and referenced during Meehan’s annual State of the University address last week.

“Locking in a four-year tuition rate for new in-state undergraduates will help our students and their families plan for the cost of a UMass education while encouraging more students to finish their degree in four years, both of which will result in a more affordable degree,” Meehan said. “The Healey-Driscoll administration’s inclusion of this proposal in their budget reflects a willingness to work with the university on innovative ideas that directly benefit students and their families. We look forward to continuing this dialogue with our partners in the Legislature during their budget deliberations.”

The program would be paired with continued investments in university-generated financial aid, which UMass increased by $28 million this fiscal year and more than $180 million over the last decade. Those increases have played a significant role in UMass holding average student debt flat over the last decade.

UMass Board of Trustees Chair Stephen Karam added: “The Healey-Driscoll administration has demonstrated its commitment to the University of Massachusetts as an engine of economic opportunity by making strong investments in our student success initiatives. We are grateful and honored by the confidence the administration is showing in the university’s ability to deploy its resources efficiently and effectively.”

“The majority of our 19,000 graduates each year remain in Massachusetts to live and work, making UMass the largest contributor by far to our highly-skilled workforce,” said Karam. “By minimizing their debt, those graduates are better able to fully participate in our economy and are more likely to remain in Massachusetts long-term.”