The University of Maine System Board of Trustees has conditionally approved a $559 million spending plan for Fiscal Year 2021.
System officials say that while the state's public universities are facing an anticipated $20 million in costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new budget does not include tuition increases to offset those costs. The budget does include what officials say is a long-planned tuition adjustment of 2.5 percent due to the rate of inflation.
The system cites costs that include lost event revenue, costs of student safety measures in dining and residence halls, and investment in safety equipment and supplies and technology. UMS spokesperson Dan Demeritt says, in general, the schools have to provide more learning flexibility.
“We need to meet the students where they are and stream the content we produce in our classrooms to people at a distance if they can't into the classroom.” The budget proposal includes an unresolved $5.69 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Demeritt says UMS expects to have an announcement in very early July about plans to bring students back to campus.