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Supplemental Budget May Help University Of Maine System Avoid Tuition Hike

University Enrollment
Robert F. Bukaty
In this photo made Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, blue-shirted upperclassmen help move items belonging to incoming freshman at the University of Maine in Orono.

The University of Maine system will delay a vote on a proposed budget that would have increased tuition rates by about 2.5%.

The system's Board of Trustees had planned to vote on a proposed budget with those increases on Monday.

But officials now say they will hold off so they can evaluate the impact of Gov. Mills' supplemental budget proposal, which would boost funding to the system by about 3%, or $6 million, for the next fiscal year.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy says encouraging early admissions numbers for the fall, plus increased funding contained in the proposed supplemental budget, would allow the system to keep tuition flat for in-state students.

"The 3% increase, presuming it is approved — it all looks very good — would allow us to take the step we're taking in respect to in-state students, absolutely," he says.

Malloy says the system plans to hold off on voting on its budget until late June, when the fate of the supplemental budget proposal will likely be clearer.

The system projects it will have lost about $100 million through the end of June because of the pandemic, but Malloy acknowledges that students and families have dealt with economic hardship, too.

"It has strained us, I want to be very clear. But we also know that current economic conditions have strained Maine residents. So we're addressing that at this moment," he says.