Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Board of Trustees request $502 million from state

By Collegian News Staff

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The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees requested a $502 million budget from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The board approved the budget in mid-December.

The requested budget, if approved by the state, would cover nearly 50 percent of the five-campus’ general expenses, UMass President Robert Caret told the Associated Press. If the state approves this 20 percent budget increase, it would meet the University’s goal of splitting costs evenly between the state and students.

For the 2012 fiscal year, the University received $418 million in funding from the state, which covered 45 percent of the University’s expenses. In part due to a decrease in state funding and a significant decrease in federal stimulus money, UMass faced a $54 million funding gap.

UMass Chancellor Robert Holub addressed the university community through an email last January, outlining steps his administration would take in the hopes of alleviating the budget crunch.

“We have eliminated over $19 million in base commitments over the past two years and, to our credit, generated new revenues of almost $10 million,” he wrote.

In the same email, Holub addressed the issue of fee increases.

“We would prefer recommending no fee increase. But if we are going to reach our goal of ascending into the ranks of the foremost research institutions in the nation, we must have appropriate funding,” he wrote to the campus community.

On June 8, the Board of Trustees approved a 7.5 percent student fee increase for the upcoming semester, costing the average student an additional $826 per year. This fee increase was expected to raise $26 million.

The Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) wrote a statement in favor of the budget request increase.

“The needs on our campuses are many and they are very pressing – financial aid for students at risk of incurring untenable debt, funding for staff and faculty union contracts, a huge deferred maintenance backlog, student support programs, restoring the number of full-time faculty, and so on,” the advocacy group wrote.

PHENOM is an organization which argues for more state funding for public universities in the Bay State, and to lobby for affordable, and accessible public education, according to the group’s mission statement.

Caret told the Associated Press he hopes the state approves the budget to help alleviate some of the financial burdens of students, though he made no mention of decreasing tuition and fees for students.

— Collegian News Staff

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