Trustees approve FY25 University of Maine System operating budget

With enrollment projected to be flat and continued inflationary pressures, the System is relying on efficiencies, new revenue generation and one-time savings to balance its budget without the use of UMS reserve funds for the first time since 2014 

FORT KENT, Maine — At their regular meeting today at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, Trustees unanimously approved a $648.6 million Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) operating budget for the University of Maine System (UMS) that is balanced by new efficiencies and revenue.

To temper tuition increases amid continued inflationary pressures and projections of flat enrollment, Maine’s public universities will lease or sell property, cancel courses that have low enrollment or are duplicative, and share space, staff and services, which is enabled by the System’s innovative unified accreditation. Consistent with a right-sizing commitment in its new strategic plan, UMS has sold or listed underutilized buildings and land in Bangor, Belfast, Harmony, Houlton, Presque and Portland just since January.

Retirements and positions being left vacant are additionally expected to generate $10.3 million in savings in FY25. Energy projects will also reduce costs and emissions and improve the student experience, including the replacement of more than 6,000 lights at the University of Maine (UMaine) that was approved by Trustees today and will cut electricity usage on the Orono campus annually by 1.3 million kilowatt hours.

Meanwhile, UMS universities are being creative and collaborative in attracting new students and revenue. For example, the University of Southern Maine is housing community college students in its new Portland Commons residence hall and increasing summer programming and rentals of its facilities for conferences and events. The System is also expanding educational partnerships with employers who offer tuition benefits and offering new microcredentials, certificates and badges. 

The University of Maine at Presque Isle, which has seen subscriptions for its YourPace flexible online competency-based degree program (External Site) triple over the past three years, is projecting continued enrollment growth and a small budget surplus, as is the University of Maine at Augusta. 

“The Board challenged our public universities to balance their budgets while finding new ways to invest in our students, share resources and expertise across our campuses, and find efficiencies. This required tough choices and hard work but the belt tightening by all in our university community is laying the foundation for a more sustainable System,” said Chair Trish Riley. “While we need to get beyond just balancing the budget to a place where we can make real investments in our institutions, the University of Maine System remains the best value for Maine families, providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education statewide.”

The approved budget does include a 3% in-state undergraduate tuition increase, as well as modest increases to mandatory fees, room and board and the expansion of differential tuition for high-cost programs. The total listed price, inclusive of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, for a full-time Maine undergraduate student will increase by an average of $821 across the System in the 2024-25 academic year.

Still, Maine’s public universities remain the most affordable in New England and when adjusted for inflation, tuition and fee costs are decreasing. UMaine’s approved FY25 in-state undergraduate credit hour cost is 35% lower than the FY24 average of other New England flagships and its alumni earn more than double the state’s average median income.

“Proposing a tuition increase is not something we take lightly but is necessary now to meet obligations to our employees and start making the investments needed to support our students and their success and stabilize our institutions’ infrastructure,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “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 their needs met and the proven power of social mobility through higher education accessible to them.”

Specifically, the FY25 budget increases investment in university buildings by 4.3% ($1.4 million) with a goal of improving 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. 

Student tuition and fees comprise the largest source of revenue in the enacted FY25 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, though contracts remain unsettled with several of the System’s largest bargaining units, including that representing faculty.

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.