ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The University of Maine System board of trustees unanimously approved a state funding request to expand their budget by $24.5 million.
Final approval will be made by the Legislature in January 2017.
That proposed 12.1 percent increase would be distributed over three fiscal years. Trustees feel that even though it would require an increase of dollars from taxpayers, this is the right direction for the UMaine System and Maine's economic future as whole. They also said it is the only way to keep tuition costs down for students.
"We've turned the corner as far as the challenges that we had as an institution, and we are on a path to a strong sustainable and fiscal foundation" said Dan Demeritt, the system's Executive Director of Public Affairs. "Its time to invest to make sure that we can continue to maintain commitment to affordability, keep tuition as low as we can for Maine students and families but also invest in the capacity that it takes to create jobs and bring new talent to Maine".
Four million dollars of the proposed funds would also go towards expanding the systems early college initiative program, fund scholarships for adult learners and continue conducting job-creating research — something Demeritt feels Gov. LePage and the Legislature will be on board with.
"They really understand the importance of our universities in sustaining our communities and our capacities that attract talent and resources to our aging state," Demeritt said.
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