UMass could see tuition, fee hikes next year - KPTV - FOX 12

UMass could see tuition, fee hikes next year

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AMHERST, MA (WSHM) -

The cost of a UMass education could possibly increase according to one school official who says the proposed state budget is $17 million short to freeze tuition and fees again this year.

Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed fiscal year 2015 budget includes $68 million more than last year toward public higher education campuses, but it's still not enough.

The state contributed 50 percent to the University of Massachusetts budget last year, allowing tuition and fees to be frozen. The university is hoping for a similar freeze this year, but our media partner MassLive and The Republican reports Senior Vice president for Administration and Finance for the school, Christine Wilda, says there is a $17 million difference between what the government is proposing and what's needed to keep the cost at what it is today.

"We're looking forward to building on the governor's generous proposal. That doesn't get us quite to 50/50, but the legislative process and the discussion takes a while so we will see what happens over the course of the spring," said Edward Blaguszewski, spokesman for UMass, Amherst.

Some students at UMass, Amherst say the cost of tuition is high enough as it is.

"I'm an in-state student and a lot of my tuition gets covered through financial aid so I don't pay a lot to go here, but I've also taken out close to $12,000 in loans which I'm not looking forward to paying off," said Shaina Lemmon, a Junior at UMass.

Junior Dan Albrecht says his friends are paying a lot to attend.

"I'm sort of a minority in that sense that I'll graduate without debt and I consider that to be a humongous advantage," he said. 

At the same time, students also say the university and the state are helping with grants and financial aid, bringing down the cost.

"I think it's very reasonable, it's the reason I came here and I'm getting good support from both the school and financial aid from the government," said Sarina Ponte, a freshman at the university.

There are close to 30,000 students at UMass Amherst. In-state residents currently pay about $25,000 in tuition and fees.

The school's spokesman says they do a lot throughout the year to keep costs down on campus and are currently working on a $300 million financing campaign for scholarships and to hire faculty. As for the cost of tuition and fees for the upcoming year, that decision will be made by this summer.

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