October 19, 2019
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Maine universities agree to tuition hike that sticks to inflation

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
More than 1,700 students, including upward of 40 doctoral degree candidates, participated in the University of Maine’s 217th Commencement on May 11, 2019, in Alfond Arena.

Tuition will rise by almost 3 percent for in- and out-of-state undergraduate students at campuses across the University of Maine System next academic year, under a budget the system’s board of trustees approved Monday.

For Maine students, the sharpest tuition increases — of 4.2 percent — will be for those attending the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

The highest tuition increase for out-of-state students will be a 4.9 percent hike for students attending the University of Maine at Farmington campus.

University officials tried to limit the size of tuition increases, said University of Maine System spokesman Dan Demeritt. It received some help in limiting that increase from Gov. Janet Mills’ proposed budget, which included a $10 million increase for the 30,000-student public university system.

“We’re adjusting for inflation,” he said. “We don’t want the price of higher education to grow faster than the ability of Maine families to pay.”

The end result is that a full-time student from Maine attending the University of Maine in Orono will pay $22,104 for tuition, fees and room and board this coming fall, up from $21,588 this past academic year. At the University of Southern Maine, the full-time cost for in-state students will rise to $18,305 from $17,590. In Farmington, it will rise from $19,392 to $19,809.

Out-of-state students headed to Orono in the fall can expect to pay $42,414 in the fall, up from $41,388 this past academic year.

The University system froze tuition for six years, from 2012 to 2017.

And even as the system has raised tuition some in recent years, 4,077 students from Maine — nearly a quarter of in-state students — were attending college this past spring semester without having to pay anything for tuition and mandatory fees due to a variety of initiatives that have boosted the amount of grants and gift aid the university system has issued. A majority of the university system’s financial aid is now grants and gift aid, rather than loans that students have to pay back.

This year, the system plans to boost the amount of grant and scholarship aid it gives out by $6.6 million.

 



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