UMass Defers Tuition, Fees Hike Decision Until State Budget Finalized

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan says the five-campus system will wait until the Massachusetts state budget is finalized before deciding whether to raise tuition and fees.

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan says waiting until the state budget is finalized before deciding whether to raise tuition and fees represents the“best course”of action.

Outside a Board of Trustees meeting in Boston Wednesday, UMass students and faculty protested any increases in tuition and fees.

“They say cut back, we say fight back. Don’t cut tuition. Save the urban mission,” protesters chanted.

Meehan says that given the shortfall in state revenues, the Board will delay a decision until there’s more information.

Related: UMass Boston Looks To Make Big Cuts To Faculty

“I think it’s prudent for us to see how much the Legislature provides and not set tuition until we have those numbers,” Meehan said.

Current projections show Massachusetts tax revenues are down $300 million since last year, potentially affecting funds to public higher education.

According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, over the past 15 years state spending per student at UMass Boston has dropped by 32 percent, and students have borne the brunt of the resulting tuition hikes.

The Massachusetts House has approved $508 million for UMass while the Senate proposed $521 million.

The two chambers are expected to reach a compromise for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The Board of Trustees will then meet in July to consider tuition increases.

Earlier: Amid State Funding Cuts, Public Research Universities Find Unlikely Advocate

[Cross-posted at On Campus: the WGBH News Higher Education Blog]

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Kirk Carapezza

Kirk Carapezza is the lead reporter for On Campus. Kirk has reported for Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wis., and Vermont Public Radio in Montpelier, Vt. He's been a writer and producer at WBUR in Boston; a teacher and coach at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass.; a Fenway Park tour guide; and a tourist abroad. Kirk received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and earned his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. When he's not reporting or editing stories on campus, you can find him posting K's on the Wall at Fenway.