New Bedford-Area State Reps Concerned About UMass Tuition Hike
The vote last week of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees to raise tuition and mandatory fees for the 2022-2023 semester has raised concerns among members of the New Bedford area legislative delegation.
Dartmouth Representative Chris Markey (D) says given that "inflation is at a 40-year" high," increased costs for services should not be unexpected. Markey wonders, however, if the increases are necessary right now.
"The timing of this may not be the best in light of the fact we increased UMass funding by $72 million," Markey said. "This increase may not be needed, in light of our increase in funding."
New Bedford's Chris Hendricks (D) agreed that the timing doesn't seem right.
"It's unfortunate that this is happening now and not some point further in the future," Hendricks said. "I know UMass Dartmouth and new Chancellor Mark Fuller are concerned with revenue and having the tools to build and grow, but I hope the increase doesn't start to sour students' willingness to go to UMass Dartmouth versus other 'affordable' schools."
"I think freezing tuition is a good way to market and attract new students, especially during these times and especially how UMD has been trying to build a bigger student body for years now," he said.
Markey pointed out that "the increase is not guaranteed it just allows for an increase of up to 2.5 percent." He said "it's too early to tell what will happen and if our significant increase in funding will eliminate the need for an increase." Markey said he is also "pushing for more scholarship money."
The trustees say the increase in tuition and fees, which will impact students at UMass Dartmouth and the UMass School of Law, is the first in two years.
A message seeking comment from Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Michael Rodrigues (D) Westport went unanswered.