Higher education is going to cost a bit more in Maine next fall.

Tuition, fees and room and board costs at the seven University of Maine System campuses will increase an average of $466, or 2.9 percent, in the fall, according to budget figures presented Wednesday to the system’s trustees’ finance committee.

The state’s community college system is also increasing tuition slightly in the fall, the first increase after a two-year tuition freeze.

Last year, the university trustees increased tuition and fees for the first time after a six-year freeze.

For in-state university students, tuition, fees, and room and board would increase to $17,986 a year, compared to the current $17,520. Out-of-state students – who generally pay about three times as much as Mainers for tuition alone – would see an increase of about the same amount, for a total of about $54,000.

University officials say the increase is expected to bring in an extra $16.7 million, a 5.6 percent increase in tuition and fee revenue. Approximately 45 percent of the new revenue is being earmarked for student financial aid.

The finance committee approved the proposed increase, and the full board of trustees will vote on the increase, as part of the overall $551.6 million system budget, at their May 21 meeting.

Under long-term budget plans, UMS officials say they intend to increase tuition annually, tied to the rate of inflation. Their budget projections anticipate that the state allocation for the system will also increase at the rate of inflation, however the state appropriation is flat for 2018-19.

Tuition varies among the campuses. In the fall, tuition will be $8,790 a year at the University of Maine, $8,220 at UMaine Farmington; $8,130 at the University of Southern Maine; and $6,990 a year at the campuses in Augusta, Fort Kent, Machias and Presque Isle.

In-state tuition for graduate programs will increase to $7,902 a year at the University of Maine, $7,326 a year at USM and $7,506 a year at Farmington. Tuition at the University of Maine School of Law is unchanged at $22,290 a year.

Tuition will also increase at the state’s community colleges after a two-year freeze, officials said.

Tuition at the seven campuses of the Maine Community College System will increase in 2018-19 by $2 per credit hour, for a total cost of $94 per credit hour.

For students taking a full-time course load of 30 credits, annual tuition will increase $60 to $2,820 a year. Out-of-state tuition at the community colleges is double the in-state rate.

Community college officials noted that nearly half of all students have their tuition and fees fully covered by grant aid.

The University of Maine System tuition increase will have less impact for many students at the system’s four smaller campuses, under a new financial aid program announced last fall. The system has eliminated out-of-pocket tuition and fees for first-year Maine students who qualify for a need-based federal Pell grant. The program is available to students at University of Maine at Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Augusta and Machias. Qualifying students will pay their Pell grant money toward tuition and fees, and won’t have to pay any outstanding balance.

Students will still have to pay for room and board, books and other costs, but they will qualify for work-study programs and other aid to help with those expenses, officials said.

System officials said financial aid for needs-based merit aid systemwide is at $86.6 million, an all-time high.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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