In early June, University of Massachusetts trustees decided to wait for a new state budget before voting on increases to student tuition and fees. On Thursday, lawmakers approved a budget plan that increased funding for the university by just 1 percent, drawing a measured response from UMass officials.
“We recognize that our appropriation reflects the very recent news about the state’s fiscal circumstances becoming more challenging,” said UMass spokesman Robert Connolly. “[We] appreciate the fact that the Legislature was forced to make difficult decisions.”
Earlier this week, officials projected that revenue for the upcoming fiscal year would be far less than previously anticipated. With a 1 percent increase, UMass will receive around $508 million from the state.
Trustees will vote on how much to raise student costs on July 14. It is not a question of whether tuition and fees will increase, Connolly said, but by how much.
Officials will look for other ways to save money without impacting the classroom experience, including “efficiency and effectiveness” measures, Connolly said.
“The challenge now will be to find ways to adjust to the appropriation,” he said.
UMass trustees and administrators are working to keep college affordable for students without sacrificing academic quality, Connolly said.
“[We’re trying] to balance the very real and important considerations of maintaining the quality and excellence people expect from UMass with the access and affordability considerations that are vital to students and families across the Commonwealth,” he said.
At UMass Amherst, full-time, in-state undergraduates paid about $14,200 in tuition and fees for the 2015-16 academic year, according to the university website. At UMass Boston, Massachusetts students paid about $13,000.Reis Thebault can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @reisthebault