By: Max Lorber, Arts and Culture Editor
The Muskie School of Public Service announced a reduction in out-of-state tuition for students enrolling in graduate programs. Tuition for students without Maine residency seeking master’s degrees in Public Health (MPH) and Policy, Planning, and Management (MPPM) will be lowered from $1,141 to $695 per credit hour.
The Muskie School graduate programs focus on training students for positions that serve the public and non-profit sectors, as well as roles in contributing to and shaping public health systems. With the decrease in out-of-state tuition, Muskie School administrative officials hope to attract students from different backgrounds and environments.
“Right now, most of our students are in-state. We have just a handful of out-of-state students, but we have been trying for a long time to change that equation,” said Firooza Parvi, Director of the Muskie School. “A good graduate program should be able to attract out-of-state students, that is how we build our strength.”
According to Pavri, the Muskie School faculty and administration had been talking about attracting out-of-state students for years. When the decision was finally made to reduce the tuition rates, the USM administration was quick to give their approval.
“It happened quickly and we expect a positive impact,” said Dr. Joanne Williams, Dean of the College of Management and Human Service, when discussing the tuition decrease. “We are hoping to see impact for this Fall and will be monitoring admission data beginning immediately.”
According to Pavri, students from different backgrounds, who enter the MPH and MPPM programs with varying perspectives and skill sets, would help create a stronger learning experience. Pavir said it is crucial for a MPPM or MPH student to exchange ideas with, and learn from, a fellow student who was raised in a completely different environment.
According to USM Admissions Office enrollment data, since 2016 the MPPH program had an average of 3 out-of-state students enrolled in the Fall and Spring semesters, including Spring 2020. The same report indicated that the MPH program averaged 10.5 out-of-state students.
Pavri said most students averaged six credit hours per semester, because they are usually working and only have time to attend night classes. The decrease in tuition would mean that out-of-state students, who would have been paying $6,846 per semester, not including additional fees, would now be charged $4,170.
“[The tuition decrease] will help drive enrollment of out-of-state students, which in term assists in the workforce development for the State of Maine,” said Dr. Williams.
Most graduates of both the MPPM and MPH programs enter their respective fields in Maine, according to Pavri. She claimed the potential influx of diversity at the Muskie School could eventually lead to fresh perspectives within the private, public and nonprofit sectors in the State of Maine.
USM launched a digital marketing campaign in January to complement the tuition decrease. Advertisements are being run on social media platforms, including LinkedIn.