Amid student protest, University of Massachusetts Trustees voted 12-4 this morning to increase student fees by $1,500 for the coming academic year. The hike represents a 17.6 percent spike in fees for UMass, Amherst students.
UMass, Amherst has begun laying off faculty and staff. In addition, Chancellor Holub anticipates an approximately 7% decrease in the number of graduate teaching assistants. A campus reorganization plan now being considered will merge and close departments and transfer money and support to those departments most likely to attract government and business support.
In the words of Chancellor Holub, students at UMass Amherst may expect:
- An increase in the overall student population at both the undergraduate and graduate level. We will have to work strategically with these increases. Some programs have excess capacity already. Others can expand their capacity without significantly increasing costs by dealing creatively with the delivery of instruction. Some programs that offer professional degrees may want to increase differentially their fees. By building the campus through quality programs, we will be able to ensure a steady source of revenue.
- A move toward a model of moderate fees and restructured financial aid. The costs currently borne by students for their education at UMass Amherst is a fraction of what their peers pay for education at private institutions in the state, and the quality is every bit as good. By raising tuition and fees moderately for the student body as a whole, and returning a more significant portion of the revenues to financial aid, we can continue our obligation to educate anyone who merits admission based on accomplishment and promise, while at the same time maintaining a quality education for everyone.
- We will also be seeking to attract more international and out-of-state students. While we will maintain our student numbers for the citizens of the Commonwealth, we will want to provide them with exposure to students with a great variety of experiences in terms of cultural background, geographical location, and intellectual interests. The shift in admissions orientation will have the dual benefit of securing additional resources for the institution and exposing students to a greater diversity.
In short: pay more and get a lot less.