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Trustees Approve FY2015 UMS Unified Budget

No undergraduate tuition increase for 3 consecutive years

BANGOR, MAINE – The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved a $529 million unified operating budget for the upcoming 2015 fiscal year which begins on July 1. The budget is based on flat State education & general appropriation and on projected enrollments on campuses.

With the budget vote, student charges were confirmed for the upcoming academic year—continuing a tuition freeze for a third year. This marks the first time since 1984-1987, that there has been no in-state undergraduate or graduate tuition increase for three consecutive years. The weighted average tuition at the seven universities is $7,622 which ranges from $6,510 at UMA to $8,370 at UMaine.

“We want to ensure that tuition is affordable and education is accessible for Maine families,” said Samuel Collins, board chair. “In talking with members of the Legislature, they, too, are concerned about the affordability and accessibility of education for Mainers.”

A total of $10 million may be transferred from the System’s budget stabilization fund in order to balance the budget at the 2015 fiscal year-end, if needed. The fund was created in 2010 to enable the University System to smooth the financial impact of adverse markets, economic conditions, and address other financial challenges. It was built from net investment income over the years. This is the first time money has been transferred out of the fund.

“While we have some very tough budget decisions to make, we should be optimistic about the University of Maine System and how it will continue to serve Maine students and communities,” Chancellor James H. Page noted. “We will meet these challenges in a way that ensures that we remain Maine’s most valuable public asset.”

In other activities at the meeting, Trustees unanimously reappointed Samuel Collins of Caribou as board chair and Admiral Gregory Johnson of Harpswell, as vice chair of the board.

Also at today’s meeting, Trustees approved:

  • Creation of a Doctor of Science in Law (JSD) at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, this is a terminal research degree in graduate legal education and a necessary credential for teaching law in many countries;
  • A new Strategic Plan for UMPI that emphasizes goals in becoming a national leader in personalized and innovative education, student retention, and workforce and economic development;
  • Elimination of three undergraduate academic programs at USM in Elementary Education, Applied Technology Education, and Technology Education, as well as two graduate programs in School Psychology and in Classroom Teaching—as a result of low enrollments and graduation rates, and in compliance with an extensive campus program review procedure; and,
  • Various facilities-related projects including labs and other buildings at UMFK and at USM’s Bailey Hall and Payson Smith Hall.

Yesterday, Trustees and Chancellor Page announced that a search committee will be formed this summer to identify the University of Southern Maine’s next president. The committee will be chaired by Trustee James R. Erwin of Yarmouth. The search process will commence at the end of summer.

Materials from the board meeting are posted here, under the May 18-19 tab: http://www.maine.edu/about-the-system/board-of-trustees/meeting-agendas/board-trustees-meeting-materials-agendas/

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state’s largest educational enterprise. It has an annual enrollment of nearly 40,000 students and serves over 500,000 individuals annually through educational and cultural offerings. Two-thirds of its alumni—approximately 120,000 people—live in Maine. The University of Maine System features seven universities—some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as eight University College outreach centers, a law school, and an additional 31 course sites. For more information, visit www.maine.edu.