UMass President Wants ‘Cost Certainty’ Tuition Program

A cost certainty program would offer in-state undergraduate students consistent tuition rates throughout their four years at UMass, President Marty Meehan said in an annual address.
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  • UMass President Marty Meehan said in an annual address that he wants to establish a cost certainty program for in-state undergraduate students.
  • Such a program would feature a "locked-in" tuition rate for all four years of a students' education, according to a UMass release.
  • A cost certainty program would result in lost revenue for the school system, but that funding could be offset by a recent voter-approved tax increase.
  • Several major schools across the country already offer locked-in tuition rates to in-state students.

In-state University of Massachusetts (UMass) students may soon have a steady tuition rate throughout their education, as university leaders are pushing for a "cost certainty" program.

UMass President Marty Meehan wants students to pay a consistent tuition rate for all four years of their education and said in an annual address that he's discussing models for a "cost certainty" program with state lawmakers. Such a program would feature a "locked-in" tuition rate for new in-state undergraduate students, according to a university press release.

"In the coming years, we intend to work with our partners in the legislature to offer tuition models that provide cost certainty for students and their families over the life of their UMass education," Meehan said in his address.

Meehan's push for a cost certainty tuition model comes after Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative for an additional 4% tax on income over $1 million. Funding from that additional tax will go toward education and transportation, according to the release.

A cost certainty model wouldn't mean an end to tuition raises, according to the release. Officials would likely raise tuition to account for inflation yearly. With a cost certainty program in place, however, each incoming group of students wouldn't be affected by annual tuition increases during their four years at UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell.

Such a program would cost UMass an estimated $25 million in tuition revenue annually, according to the release, but that cost could be offset by the increased tax approved by voters last year.

Colleges across the country already use cost certainty programs to guarantee a consistent tuition rate for their students.

The Ohio State University guarantees set rates for in-state tuition, fees, housing, and dining costs for incoming students, according to its website, although that program includes limited exceptions. Other universities in Ohio, including Ohio University and Miami University, likewise offer cost consistency programs to incoming groups of students.