June 6, 2012
BOSTON — The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent hike in student fees on June 6 over the objections of Gov. Deval Patrick.
In-state student fees will go up by about $580 next year, making annual tuition and fees $12,481. That doesn't include room and board, which is about $10,000 at UMass Amherst. The hike comes on top of increases in student fees over the past 10 years.
It left UMass Amherst student Steve Donahue wondering how he'd afford it all.
“How am I going to do this? I’m really anxious," he said. "I’m in college now. My sister's starting college next year. My family has to cover the fees for both of us.”
At the State House, Patrick voiced his opposition. “It’s a crummy time to ask students to pay more. The economy is tough; their prospects after graduation are uncertain.”
He said the university system had to do a better job managing its money so students don’t have to pay the price.
In a press release, university officials blamed the hikes on a steady decline in the proportion of education costs the state has shouldered over the past decade — from 61 percent in 2003 to an estimated 43 percent next year. They've agreed to freeze student fees for the next 2 years at the new rate if the legislature agrees to bring the state's commitment up to 50 percent of the burden.
The board of trustees took swift action on the fee hike — proposing it at a Dartmouth campus meeting Tuesday night and ratifying it first thing the next morning. University officials did not return calls for comment.