Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

UMaine to freeze tuition for fourth year straight

Posted on March 23, 2015 in News
By Krysteana Scribner

The University of Maine System board of trustees has voted once again to freeze in-state tuition for the fourth year in a row leaving students, faculty and staff wondering what this means for the future of USM.

According to Dan Demeritt, the UMaine system director of public affairs, students can expect Maine’s college tuition to be one of the most affordable in New England.

“It’s critical that the government is making an investment and that the board of trustees is using that to keep tuition flat so it doesn’t get harder for families to finance a college degree,” said Demeritt. “The hope is that as a public institution, it reduces financial barriers for students as well as potential students and reduces indebtedness once students graduate.”

Although other public institutions across the country have increased their tuition by 17 percent over the past four years, Demeritt explained that college competition is higher than ever and believes low tuition is an enticing factor for potential students.

“We’re seeing that the amount of high school students graduating has diminished by almost 20 percent over the past few years,” said Demeritt. “It’s a combination of that and competition between other universities – our customer pool has shrunk and we have more competition.”

Chris Quint, USM’s public affairs director, believes that affordability is a major problem across the country, similarly saying that this issue can be linked to the low high school graduate demographics and the competition between universities.

“We have to do everything we can to be affordable and accessible,” said Quint. “The action the board of trustees took was a positive one in that direction.”

By giving students the confidence that their tuition bill will not increase, Quint said that in-state students can be expected to spend only $8,000 for the school year and out of state students with room and board costs can expect to spend about $20,000.

“We’re one of the better deals in the northeast here at USM,” explained Quint. “Portland is one of the most desirable cities in the northeast and we’re right in the heart of it. We have everything we need to be successful here, we just have to sell it to students.”

Junior finance major Amelia Worthing said that with all the faculty cuts that USM has seen over the past year, the tuition freeze will hopefully bring more students into the university and allow for our budget goals to be met so that more cuts can be avoided.

“The only reason that it’s hard to afford college is because we’re young and we don’t really know how to manage our money yet,” said Worthing. “I bet a lot of us would actually be able to afford our tuition a lot easier if we could manage our money more effectively.”

Worthing also believes that this scenario can also be applied to the university, saying that if USM could properly manage funds then perhaps they wouldn’t need to make the cuts.

To combat USM’s recent fiscal issues and bring more students through the door, Quint said that not only do they have to modernize recruitment strategies but they also want to improve how they market and talk about the university.

“It really comes down to recruiting more students,” said Quint. “We’re hoping that by being a metropolitan university, we will open up enticing opportunities for current and prospective students not only in the classroom but in the community.”

With the arrival of USM’s new president Dr. Harvey Kesselman, Quint also explained that the future of USM is in good hands because he has raised a university from the ashes of financial debt once before.

“When he started as Executive President at Stockton University, they were very much in the same situation as we are,” said Quint. “Along with their faculty and administration, Kesselman was able to turn it around to the point now where they are thriving. I know he can do that for USM.”

Demeritt said that as each university takes the proper action to combat financial issues and the University of Maine System promises to provide Maine’s strongest commitments to affordability. The individuals who voted for the tuition freeze recognize that.

“It really is all about the students,” said Demeritt. “We want to be an option for everyone and that’s why its so important to keep the tuition down.”

Leave a Reply

Please fill the required box or you can’t comment at all. Please use kind words. Your e-mail address will not be published.

Gravatar is supported.

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>