The Governor’s proposal would increase appropriations for Maine’s public universities by 4.5% annually over the biennium, and also further fund UMS research in direct support of Maine companies
University of Maine System leaders are calling on the 131st Maine Legislature to support the investments in high-impact public postsecondary education and research proposed by Gov. Janet Mills in the two-year state budget she released today.
The FY24–25 budget proposal would provide Maine’s public universities a 4.5% annual increase for operations and also carry forward a targeted appropriation to minimize tuition hikes and student debt for Maine families.
“The affordable, high-quality postsecondary education and workforce training provided by Maine’s public universities is the most effective path to social mobility for Mainers and economic prosperity for our state,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy.
“In direct response to the needs of Maine’s people and employers, the 130th Legislature and Gov. Mills made historic investments in public education, especially from pre-kindergarten to community college. I applaud Gov. Mills for the measured budget she released today that builds on those investments and further strengthens pathways to college and great-paying Maine careers. If supported by the Legislature, these additional appropriations will enable UMS to sustain our universities where they are while making strategic investments for the future, meet our obligations to fairly compensate our world-class faculty and staff, and maintain Maine’s national leadership in access and affordability while improving student enrollment and success.”
Gov. Mills’ proposed FY24–25 biennial budget also includes an additional $3 million for commercially promising public university research and innovation through the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. In 2022, MEIF had a six-to-one rate of return for the state and allowed UMS universities — led by the R1 flagship University of Maine — to directly support hundreds of Maine companies and provide hands-on paid research-learning experiences for more than 1,100 students.
“Small businesses account for more than 99% of private enterprise in the state and employ more than half of all working Mainers. Many lack their own research and development capacity and, thus, uniquely rely on the expertise and facilities of our public universities to develop the talent, technology, and new and improved products and processes they need to be competitive in an increasingly global marketplace,” said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, who serves as president of the University of Maine and the vice chancellor for research and development for the University of Maine System.
“Consistent with long-standing calls from the private sector to increase Maine’s economic competitiveness by boldly increasing public investment in public university R&D, the additional appropriations for MEIF proposed by Gov. Mills will allow our universities to better prepare our graduates to be leaders and innovators in the Maine workforce for today and tomorrow, and help Maine companies grow and create more Maine jobs, all while sustaining the state’s abundant natural resources and special quality of life.”
UMS leaders also commended Gov. Mills for proposing further funding in the budget to grow the Maine State Grant award by $500. This school year, nearly 6,900 Maine students relied on the financial support of the need-based grant to attend UMS universities.
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s 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 seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMaine Machias); 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 a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.