- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Tuition and mandatory fees for University of Massachusetts in-state undergraduate students would remain frozen under a plan approved Wednesday by a university panel.

The unanimous vote from the UMass board of trustees’ finance committee likely paves the way for a second consecutive year without tuition increases for most undergrads on the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses.

The continued freeze was made possible by the proposed state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Both the House and Senate have approved spending plans that include about $519 million in state funding for the UMass system, or roughly half the university’s projected budget.

Under his so-called 50-50 plan, UMass president Robert Caret had pledged to freeze tuition and mandatory student fees if the state increased funding for the university by $100 million over two years, bringing the state’s share of support equal to that paid by students.

Caret said the tuition freeze comes at a time when there is increased focus on the soaring cost of higher education.

“We are serious about addressing what has become a critical issue for families across the state and throughout the nation,” Caret said in a statement.

The trustees’ full board was scheduled to vote June 18 on the recommendations. If adopted, the cost of attending the university’s flagship Amherst campus in the 2014-2015 academic year would remain at $24,215, including room and board.

The committee did vote to authorize Caret to raise mandatory fees by as much as 3.5 percent if an unexpected shift in the state budget process occurs and results in UMass losing some of its anticipated funding.

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