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UMaine System sees financial trouble on the horizon due to declining enrollment

umaine.jfif
Town of Orono
University of Maine

University of Maine System officials say declining enrollment could lead to tough budget decisions next year for several campuses.

On Monday, the system approved plans at some schools to use federal aid and campus reserves to make up for lower-than-expected enrollment revenue this fall.

But Trustee Roger Katz said those reserve funds are limited, and federal aid has now largely been used up, meaning they likely won't be options to fill budget gaps next year.

"With the challenges of demographics that we all know about, with some rather significant increases we're going to be looking at in energy costs, going ahead," Katz Said. "And with an uncertain future about state appropriations, we just don't know. The state's been good to us, and hopefully that will continue, but we don't know that. It means we're going to have a very difficult budget discussion."

Katz says the situation highlights the importance of a strategic planning process that the system launched last year.

Fall enrollment is currently down about five percent compared to 2021.