University of Maine System proposes balanced budget for FY25

The four-year public System remains the most affordable in New England with the price of tuition and mandatory fees actually falling over the past five years when adjusted for inflation, despite a modest increase proposed for next year.

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine System (UMS) leaders are proposing an annual operating budget for Maine’s public universities next year that is balanced.

The Board of Trustees’ Finance, Facilities and Technology Committee spent today reviewing the System’s $646.7 million Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) proposed operating budget, which is balanced without the use of budget stabilization funds for the first time since 2014. 

Public universities within UMS have been developing their FY25 budget proposals, which roll into the System’s overall operating budget, since October through an internal process inclusive of faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders. 

These draft budgets make a number of data-driven assumptions based on the best available information, including that the number of total credit hours generated through UMS student enrollment in FY25 will be consistent with the current academic year despite demographic challenges in New England.

System universities project their residence hall occupancy will continue to climb from pandemic lows to 93% of the System’s total capacity in FY25.

The proposal does include an in-state undergraduate tuition increase of 3%, amounting to an additional $8 and $12 per credit hour depending on the university, as well as an expansion of differential tuition for some high-cost programs. Mandatory fees and room and board would also increase slightly. The total listed price, inclusive of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, for a full-time Maine undergraduate student would increase by an average of $1,044 next year across the System.

Consistent with the new UMS strategic plan, the size of the tuition increase has been mitigated by cost savings achieved through efficiencies, ranging from selling underutilized space to implementing energy efficiencies to sharing space and programs, which is enabled by the System’s innovative unified accreditation. Attrition, including expected retirements and positions being left vacant, is also expected to generate $10.1 million in savings in FY25. Meanwhile, UMS universities are being creative and collaborative in attracting new students, including adult learners, and revenue. For example, the University of Southern Maine is housing community college students in its new Portland residence hall and increasing rentals of its facilities for conferences and events. 

UMS continues to be a New England leader in affordability, will expand financial aid in FY25

Most in-state students do not actually pay the listed tuition price thanks to generous financial aid, including need- and merit-based scholarships, grants and waivers from Maine’s public universities that do not need to be paid back. The proposed FY25 UMS budget would increase this institutional aid by $9.1 million to $100.8 million. 

Despite the changes proposed for FY25, the listed cost of UMS in-state tuition and mandatory fees has actually fallen 6% over the last five years when adjusted for inflation. 

The University of Maine (UMaine), the state’s only institution to achieve the top-tier R1 Carnegie Classification for very high research activity, remains the most affordable flagship in the region, with its proposed FY25 in-state undergraduate credit hour cost 35% lower than the FY24 average of New England flagships. 

Working age UMaine alumni earn more than double the state’s average median income. 

Meanwhile, qualifying Maine students attending the University of Maine at Augusta, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the University of Maine at Machias and the University of Maine at Presque Isle and are eligible for need-based federal Pell grants pay nothing out-of-pocket for tuition and mandatory fees.

“Proposing a tuition increase, however modest, is not something we take lightly. Our record reflects that, and just in the last three years, we have held tuition flat twice with the support of the State,” said UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “We are only recommending a small increase now because it is absolutely necessary to meet our obligations to our faculty, staff and student workers, and make investments necessary to support our students and their success, including to improve the classrooms, laboratories and residence halls. Maine’s public universities are, and will continue to be, the most affordable pathway to high-quality postsecondary education and economic opportunity in the Northeast. And our Maine students with the greatest financial need will continue to have those needs met and the proven power of social mobility through higher education accessible to them.”

UMS listed in-state undergraduate tuition and fees is just 12.56% of Maine’s 2022 (most recent available) annual household income, down from 15.5% a decade ago.  

Graduate tuition would remain flat at UMaine and also for returning students at the University of Maine School of Law, the state’s public and only law school. 

Student tuition and fees comprise the largest source of revenue in the proposed operating budget at 39%, followed by State appropriation at 38%, room and board at 12% and sales and services at 11%. Nearly two-thirds of expenses are for employee compensation. 

The FY25 budget proposal would also increase investment in university infrastructure with a goal of increasing student recruitment and retention and reducing operating costs and energy usage. More than half of all UMS facilities and three-quarters of residence halls have not been meaningfully renovated in at least 50 years and the System has $1.6 billion in deferred maintenance and imminent infrastructure investment needs. 

The UMS Board of Trustees will hold public work sessions on the proposed budget, which is available online, in April and May before approval of a final budget is expected at their May 19-20 meeting in Fort Kent. 

Contact: Samantha Warren, University of Maine System Director of External Affairs, 207-632-0389,

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.