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UMass freezing tuition for in-state undergrads, grad students for 2020-2021 academic year

Marty Meehan speaks from home during the UMass Amherst 2020 online commencement ceremony. (UMass Amherst)
Marty Meehan speaks from home during the UMass Amherst 2020 online commencement ceremony. (UMass Amherst)UMass Amherst

The University of Massachusetts will freeze in-state tuition for undergraduates and graduate students during the upcoming academic year amid continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Monday.

In a statement, UMass said tuition for in-state undergrads will average $14,722 at the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses, while tuition for in-state graduate students will range from $14,590 to $18,433. The university’s Board of Trustees separately set tuition for UMass Medical School in April.

The trustees voted for the tuition freeze Monday, the statement said, deviating from the university’s normal practice of increasing tuition at the rate of inflation. That means the university system will forgo $18.6 million in revenue, according to the statement.

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The revenue loss, UMass said, will be offset in part by ongoing efforts “to reduce administrative costs.”

Officials said the trustees also approved a $3.3 billion operating budget for fiscal 2021, which began July 1. The fiscal 2021 budget is $171 million leaner than the outlay for the prior year, the statement said.

“Holding the line on tuition is simply the right thing to do this year as so many students and families are facing stress and uncertainty created by an unprecedented national health emergency and economic downturn,” said UMass President Marty Meehan in the statement. “That means controlling student charges and supporting financial aid so our students are able to pursue their dream of earning a UMass degree.‘'

Meehan said the budget is “in balance at a time when many other colleges and universities, public and private, find themselves in great financial jeopardy. This required the university leadership to make difficult choices, but we take these actions to preserve stability and meet the long-term needs of students. We are continuing to advocate for the highest possible level of state funding and passage of the federal HEROES act, which could translate into $119 million in emergency funding for UMass.”

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Rob Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, also reacted to the budget.

“Even as UMass, like higher education institutions across the country, faces significant budget cuts due to pandemic-related financial challenges, we need to do all that we can to keep a high quality UMass education within financial reach of Massachusetts students,” Manning said in the statement. “I commend President Meehan, the campus chancellors and their teams for making this possible through sound and innovative management.”

According to the statement, students will continue to receive nearly $1 billion in federal, state, private, and university-funded financial aid in fiscal 2021. Such aid has increased by $99 million, or 38 percent over the last five years, with 94 percent going to Massachusetts residents, the statement said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.