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USouthern Maine Working to Make Higher Education Affordable

The University of Southern Maine plans to drive down student costs for the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year.

Although subject to approval by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, these plans include lowering room rates, and proposals to freeze out-of-state undergraduate tuition as well as in-state and out-of-state graduate tuition at 2011-2012 levels. A final decision has not been reached on tuition for the University of Maine School of Law at USM. The Board of Trustees will consider these proposals at their May meeting.   

Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees directed all university budgets be developed with no increase in tuition or mandatory fees for in-state, undergraduate students.

“Due to the diverse nature of our student population, living on campus is not right for everyone at USM,” said Denise Nelson, director of residential life, “but for our full time, traditionally aged students our on-campus programming and support services can greatly increase student success, enhance student satisfaction and produce higher graduation rates. We feel it is important to do whatever we can to make our housing as affordable as possible in order to give students the advantages of on-campus life.”

The proposed new room rates call for a $528 annual reduction for a standard double room up to a $1,174 annual reduction for a suite with two double bedrooms.  Plans also call for all incoming transfer students to be awarded a residence hall grant ranging from $1,200 to $3,000 per year to assist with housing costs.  

All rates are based on a 10-month plan that includes all utilities including Internet and cable TV access, security services, and “living and learning communities” that offer programming focused on common interests and academic disciplines.

In December 2011, USouthern Maine announced that through an internal reallocation of resources, $1 million in new scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors enrolling the fall of 2012. This represented a 15 percent increase in the $7 million of financial aid available for current students. In the last two fiscal years, USM also has attracted more than $1 million in private donations for new scholarships.