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UMass trustees vote to freeze tuition, fees

The University of Massachusetts board of trustees have voted to freeze tuition and fees for the second year in a row, pending approval by the Legislature.

At a meeting at the UMass Dartmouth campus Wednesday, the board voted to freeze the 2014-2015 tuition and mandatory in-state fees for undergraduate students. This is the first back-to-back freeze in the university’s history, school officials said in a statement.

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“Freezing tuition and fees in consecutive years represents a real savings for students and their families, and also makes a strong statement about our commitment to affordability and the seriousness with which we take our public mission,” UMass president Robert L. Caret said in the statement.

Last week, the board’s finance committee voted unanimously for the freeze. Wednesday’s vote moved the freeze one step closer, according to the statement.

The freeze is contingent on the Legislature maintaining its funding commitment for the university system.

In July 2011, Caret struck a deal with the Legislature: If the school were given a $100 million increase in state funding over the next two years, UMass would freeze its tuition and mandatory fees during that period, the statement said.

The first installment of the payment was received in 2013-2014.

The funding is included in the House and Senate budgets, but those have not been passed yet, said a spokesman for House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. Once the two chambers pass their budgets, a compromise bill will be passed and sent to the governor for his signature.

Under the proposed freeze, tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students at UMass Amherst, the most expensive undergraduate campus, would remain at $13,258, not including room and board.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera
@globe.com
. Follow her on Twitter @jacktemp.
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