University of Maine systems freeze tuition for sixth year

 Students Representatives to the University of Maine System board of trustees present Chair Samuel Collins (far left) and Chancellor James Page (far right) with chart depicting Maine’s status as the only state in the country to lower the real cost of four-year, public higher education.  Photo courtesy of UMS.

Students Representatives to the University of Maine System board of trustees present Chair Samuel Collins (far left) and Chancellor James Page (far right) with chart depicting Maine’s status as the only state in the country to lower the real cost of four-year, public higher education. Photo courtesy of UMS.

The University of Maine System (UMS) board of trustees unanimously voted to freeze tuition at Maine’s public universities in the 2016-2017 academic year on March 14 in Farmington.

According to a UMS press release, citing College Board data, Maine is the only state in the country who has lower the rate of tuition growth. In 2015-2016, Maine’s tuition growth rate was -2 percent.

About 25,000 students across UMS received an average of $11,622 in financial aid from all sources in the 2014-2015 academic year, an increase of 9 percent over the last five years.

This comes after Gov. Paul Lepage wrote UMS board of trustees chair Samuel Collins urging the continuation of the freeze. LePage added that funding from the state would be provided to offset lost money from an increase in tuition.

Jamie Austin, a third-year political science student at the University of Maine at Farmington, said that this freeze has made a huge difference for her.

“Thanks to Governor LePage and the Board of Trustees I will graduate next year without a single increase in what my family and I pay for tuition over my four years in college,” Austin said. “Maine’s commitment to affordably has made a big difference to me and to students across Maine. We are grateful.”

James Page, chancellor of the UMS, was grateful for the support he receives from Maine legislators.

“We have come far in a few short years thanks to the ingenuity and resolve of our faculty, staff and presidents,” Page said. “With the support and leadership of Governor LePage and the Legislature, we will continue our work to ensure public higher education remains affordable and focused on providing transformation leadership for our students and our state.”

The UMS board of trustees will finalize the budget for the fiscal year of 2017 at their next meeting, which is scheduled for May 22 and 23.

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