The Board of Trustees unanimously approved an extension of the tuition freeze for an additional two years today.
Last year, the board committed to a tuition freeze for the fiscal year 2012, covering 2013. The extension voted on today would freeze tuition until 2015 in an effort to control cost and improve student retention and enrollment rates across the system.
The proposal is still pending approval at the state level and is contingent upon the state’s ability to maintain its $176 million appropriation to the University of Maine System.
Chancellor James Page, who drafted the proposal, believes that the system is leading the trend to make a commitment to student success and, at the same time, keep students from turning to more inexpensive options and not their state’s public universities.
“Tuition rates are rising rapidly at public universities across the country—here in Maine we are bucking the trend by proposing what, in effect, would be a three-year freeze on in-state, undergraduate tuition,” he said. “We are asking State leadership to keep our funding level; in return, we will hold tuition level.”
Overall, the proposal was positively received at the meeting. “This is a bold step for the University System, a step in the right direction—and we are sending a strong message to our students and all Maine citizens,” said trustee Norman Fournier of Wallagrass.
There will be a system-wide review of administrative costs and structure over the next few months that is hoped will improve efficiency and service.
Two other proposals and major priorities for the year included a re-working of the transfer process and improvement of access to the university for non-traditional, adult students.