Higher education is going to cost a bit more in Maine next fall.

The cost of tuition, fees, and room and board at the seven University of Maine System campuses will increase an average of $466, or 2.9 percent, in the fall, according to budget figures presented to the system’s trustees’ finance committee Wednesday.

The state’s community college system also is increasing tuition slightly in the fall, the first increase after a two-year tuition freeze.

Last year, the university trustees increased tuition and fees for the first time after a six-year freeze.

For in-state university students, tuition, fees, and room and board would increase to $17,986 a year, compared to the current $17,520. Out-of-state students – who generally pay about three times as much as Mainers for tuition alone – would see an increase of about the same amount, for a total of about $38,000 at the flagship campus.

University officials say the increase is expected to bring in an extra $16.7 million, a 5.6 percent increase in tuition and fee revenue. Approximately 45 percent of the new revenue is being earmarked for student financial aid.

The finance committee approved the proposed increase, and the full board of trustees will vote on the increase, as part of the overall $551.6 million system budget, at their May 21 meeting.

TUITION HIKE TIED TO INFLATION

Under long-term budget plans, UMS officials say they intend to increase tuition annually, tied to the rate of inflation. Their budget projections anticipate that the state allocation for the system also will increase at the rate of inflation even though the state appropriation is flat for 2018-19.

Tuition varies among the campuses. In the fall, tuition will be $8,790 a year at the University of Maine, $8,768 at UMaine Farmington, $8,130 at the University of Southern Maine, and $6,990 a year at the campuses in Augusta, Fort Kent, Machias and Presque Isle.

In-state tuition for graduate programs will increase to $7,902 a year at the University of Maine, to $7,326 a year at USM and to $7,506 a year at Farmington. Tuition at the University of Maine School of Law is unchanged at $22,290 a year.

Fall tuition and fees for four-year public universities in neighboring states have not been finalized, but Maine’s tuition and fees last year were higher than in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and lower than in Rhode Island and Vermont.

Tuition also will increase at the state’s community colleges after a two-year freeze, officials said.

Tuition at the seven campuses of the Maine Community College System will increase in 2018-19 by $2 per credit hour, for a total cost of $94 per credit hour.

For students taking a full-time course load of 30 credits, annual tuition will increase $60 to $2,820 a year. Out-of-state tuition at the community colleges is double the in-state rate.

LESS IMPACT AT SMALLER CAMPUSES

Community college officials noted that nearly half of all students have their tuition and fees fully covered by grant aid.

The University of Maine System tuition increase will have less impact for many students at the system’s four smaller campuses, under a new financial aid program announced last fall. The system has eliminated out-of-pocket tuition and fees for first-year Maine students who qualify for a need-based federal Pell grant. The program is available to students at University of Maine at Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Augusta and Machias. Qualifying students will pay their Pell grant money toward tuition and fees, and won’t have to pay any outstanding balance.

Students still will have to pay for room and board, books and other costs, but they will qualify for work-study programs and other aid to help with those expenses, officials said.

System officials said financial aid for needs-based merit aid is at $86.6 million system-wide, an all-time high.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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