Trustees will delay consideration of University System budget to evaluate impact of Governor’s new supplemental budget proposal and strong fall enrollment deposits, which create opportunity to hold in-state tuition flat for Maine students and their families
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is rescheduling consideration of its FY22 budget to evaluate whether a proposed state appropriation increase and projected strong fall enrollments would allow the System to hold in-state tuition rates flat for Maine students in the upcoming academic year to help families impacted by the pandemic.
UMS has linked tuition adjustments to the rate of inflation since FY17; the System held tuition flat for the six years before that. As a result, the cost of tuition at Maine’s public universities has been declining as a percentage of Maine per capita income since 2013 and provides a much better value in comparison to the other New England states. The UMS commitment to affordability is also giving students more scholarship aid and decreasing student borrowing.
The possibility of holding tuition flat for in-state learners in the upcoming academic year is the first in a series of ‘Better Than Normal’ student success initiatives that Maine’s public universities are planning to roll out throughout the summer in preparation for the fall.
“The pandemic has put many of our students and their families in survival mode, and for Mainers that were already living on the economic margins, this past year of the Coronavirus has only exacerbated their already tenuous financial circumstances ” said Irene Neal, a UMFK nursing student and the UMS Student Trustee. “Our universities have been very responsive to the challenges presented by the pandemic, but there is still more to do. Providing a path back to a normal college experience without a tuition increase would help keep more Maine students on a path to a life-changing college degree.”
“Prioritizing students and their interests has guided every decision we have made throughout the pandemic,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “That commitment will continue as we welcome students back for a full college experience this fall focused on their success through graduation and into meaningful careers.”
Please follow this link for a media briefing document on affordability and tuition rates.
Chancellor Malloy, Trustees Expect to Push Budget Consideration to June
A week after the May 5, 2021 second reading of the System’s FY22 budget at the Board’s Finance Committee, Governor Mills released a supplemental biennial budget proposal that included additional resources for the University of Maine System. The Governor’s proposal includes a 3 percent state appropriation increase that amounts to $6 million in base funding support for UMS in the upcoming fiscal year.
“Over the past ten years Maine has had a nation-leading commitment to providing students with an affordable education that leads to opportunities in the Maine workforce,” said James Erwin, Chair of the UMS Board of Trustees. “The pandemic has been hard on many Maine families. The Governor’s supplemental budget request for the University of Maine System now before the Legislature creates an opportunity for us to bring our Maine students back in the fall without raising in-state tuition costs.”
The FY22 budget will not be taken up at the May 24, 2021 Board of Trustees meeting to give university leaders time to redraft the budget without an in-state tuition increase for Maine students. If enacted without an in-state tuition increase, the FY22 budget would be the seventh out of the most recent ten university spending plans to not include a tuition increase for Maine families.
Deposits Exceeding Expectations
The traditional deposit deadline for fall enrollment is May 1. With just over 100 days to go before the start of fall classes, the University of Maine System has received 5,079 commitments for fall enrollment for first year and transfer admission. Deposits for the fall are 648 ahead of last year’s pace and 6% ahead of the pre-pandemic 2019 admissions cycle.
The incoming fall class is on pace to set a record for out-of-state enrollment. As of May 19 the 1,920 deposits received for out-of-state, first-year and transfer enrollment is about 33% ahead of the last two years (1,469 in 2020 and 1,440 in 2019). Out-of-state deposits are running 3% ahead of the record setting year of 2017.
The FFT Committee will consider an updated FY22 budget holding tuition rates flat for Maine students in early June. A special meeting of the Board will be later in June for final budget consideration before the July 1, 2021 start of the new fiscal year.
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites six distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.
In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.
A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.
Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.
The System consists of six universities: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.