Official sees UMass chargers rising in lower end of 5-8 percent range

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The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees on Thursday plans to consider increases in student charges in the lower end of the 5 percent to 8 percent range recently outlined by UMass President Marty Meehan, a UMass official told the News Service.

University officials scheduled to meet in Worcester are looking to close about a quarter of a roughly $85 million budget shortfall with revenues from student charges and to address the remainder with spending reductions, according to the official.

Fixed costs associated with union contracts, debt service and employee benefits are set to rise by $107 million this year, the official said, and the fiscal 2017 state budget will deliver a reduction in university funding of less than 1 percent, once fiscal 2016 supplemental appropriations are taken into consideration.

The expected increase in student charges will be the second consecutive significant increase. Charges were boosted about 5 percent last year after being held steady for two consecutive years.

UMass has nearly 74,000 students, including many who are pursuing higher education there as a less expensive and more affordable alternative to private colleges and universities.

— Written by Michael P. Norton

Copyright State House News Service