UMass tuition increase prompts students to rally to ‘Freeze Our Fees’

Tuition increased 2.5 percent for in-state students and 3 percent for out-of-state students


(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

By Clinton Nguyen, Collegian Correspondent

As students fall into the new autumn semester, University of Massachusetts students are being faced with a 2.5 percent tuition increase, which UMass is using to renovate the campus.

This prompted the Center for Education Policy and Advocacy, amongst many others, to hold a “Freeze Our Fees” rally outside of Bartlett Hall Thursday afternoon to express the sentiment that higher education should not come at the expense of students.

Other student organizations in attendance included the Resident Assistant/Peer Mentor Union, the Graduate Employee Organization and the Center for Education Policy Advocacy.

Celena Lopes, a junior theater and social thought and political economy double major, explained that she finds her fate at UMass to be uncertain.

“Last semester I had to take up two jobs to support myself here to pay my monthly payments, and I failed two classes,” Lopes said to the growing crowds, “and I might not be able to go to school next semester because of these fees.”

Lopes isn’t alone. Countless students find these fee increases detrimental to the student body as many say students should not have to pay the fines.

“We don’t have to sit back and take it,” said Ashley Sanchez, a junior sociology and legal studies double major, “They’re charging us so they should be faced and hear our voices too.”

Resident assistants and peer mentors have faced the heat of large fees despite working for the University. “RAs and PMs are denied a free meal plan and forced to pay our wages back to UMass,” Marissa Mackson, a senior RA for the Mary Lyon & Dwight Cluster said.

“It is time for us to demand that RAs and PMs receive these benefits and UMass ‘free our fees,’” Mackson said.

The gradual increasing tuition is nothing new for the UMass system according to Vice President of the SGA Nathalie Amazan.

“We are here because UMass has continuously, for the fourth consecutive year, raised our tuition and fees,” Amazan said.

“We have auxiliary services who continue to raise meal plan prices, even though last March we told them ‘don’t do that,’” said SGA president Timmy Sullivan. “You can’t be number one dining when it’s not number one for everyone.”

Students also protested on Wednesday, Sept. 12 against the rising fees of meal plans at the University.

Editor’s note: SGA President Timmy Sullivan was misquoted in a previous version of this article. The article has been updated and includes an accurate quotation.

Clinton Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]