Tuition Hike is Passed for UMaine System 

Wayne Harvey

Tuition will be going up again next year for full-time students in the UMaine system.Chancellor Richard Pattenaude told the Board of Trustees at their meeting in Bangor Monday that the system is cutting costs, but it isn’t enough.The Board then approved an almost six percent tuition hike, the smallest increase in seven years.”That was the first time that the University has engaged in looking beyond one year at a time and it certainly probably more evident now how critical that is that we do that,” said the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Rebecca M. Wyke.After attempting to plan the financial future of the University of Maine System, the board’s belief is that considering the current fiscal standing of the state, the seven schools will likely have to succeed with what they have now, said Wyke.”We will do well to hang on to what we have for base appropriation or to have very little of it chipped away. They are not in a position to be offering us more. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask for more and it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight for more, but they are in a very difficult position to give us more.”The committee wants to keep tuition increases at six percent or less each year, knowing the financial situation of families in this state that send students to the schools.Is the UMaine System getting close to the breaking point for families to send their kids to college?”Yes,” said Wyke. “and I think we’re dangerously close to it and that’s also part of the work that we need to do through the task force The New Challenges and New Direction, is to understand where that breaking point is and to make sure that we don’t go over it because the degree that we go over it we are not meeting our mission and if our primary mission is to educate Maine people then we need to have a focus on what they can afford and how we can make it more affordable.”