The University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle today unveiled a new tuition structure for out-of-state and international students that offers competitive pricing in those markets and also acts as a catalyst for economic development in Aroostook County.
Starting with the Fall 2014 semester, UMPI and UMFK will be simplifying their tuition structure by offering out-of-state students the same tuition rate extended to students who participate in the New England Board of Higher Education Tuition Break Program.
For the past few years, the tuition rate at UMFK and UMPI has been $220 per credit hour for Maine residents, $330 per credit hour for residents from the New England states and Canada, and $552 per credit hour for all other out-of-state and international students.
The new change means all students in that third category will also receive the $330 per credit hour tuition rate. For those students, that means their tuition would see a 40% reduction from $16,560 a year to $9,900 a year. Local economic development leaders are welcoming the rate change and what it means for the area.
"In these challenging economic times, UMPI and UMFK are undertaking a noble effort to advance education opportunities," Bob Dorsey, President and CEO of Aroostook Partnership for Progress, said. "We know that our regional students have benefited from these universities' cost effective rates and with this new initiative, we will hopefully see students from all over the country benefit as well. It is APP's hope that this will not only attract more students to the County but that we can find more internship opportunities for them so that they are more inclined to stay here and help grow the vitality of our workforce."
This out-of-state rate reduction comes at a key time—when projected employment opportunities in Aroostook County over the next five years are increasing and the 18- to 44-year-old workforce is decreasing.
"We anticipate that this change will not only entice more students from throughout the U.S. and internationally to take a much closer look at our University campuses and northern Maine as one of the most cost effective options out there for them, but also help us to see greater numbers of those students coming to Aroostook County to take advantage of these opportunities, which would of course have a positive impact on our region's economy," UMPI President Linda Schott said. "Our staff will be working hard in the coming months to get the word out to prospective out-of-state students and their families and we hope to see an even more geographically diverse student body on our campus in the coming semesters."
The current out-of-state and international rate was established many years ago when in-state tuition was subsidized through state appropriations at a rate of approximately 60 percent. Students from beyond Maine were charged higher rates so as not to provide them with a subsidy paid for by Maine taxpayers.
In today's market, in-state tuition is subsidized at a rate more closely approaching 35 percent. Continuing to charge out-of-state and international students the original rates established many years ago has put UMFK and UMPI at a competitive disadvantage in attracting students from beyond Maine's borders.
"Maine's public higher education institutions offer attractive opportunities to students from throughout New England, United States, Canada, and abroad. At our campus," says UMFK president Wilson G. Hess, "we already have students from several Canadian provinces, a dozen U.S. states and territories, and 26 foreign countries. However, a disproportionate amount of student aid flows to these students to offset artificially high out-of-state and international rates. This tuition strategy reflects the true costs of educating these students. It creates an incentive for more students to come to Maine – specifically to the County -- and spend their tuition dollars here. They enrich our campuses and our communities. They learn about our great way of life and our values. They represent an expanded pool of talent for our workforce. Everyone wins."
Officials said that the tuition change does impact budgets in the near-term, but that the new out-of-state rate is expected to serve as a significant attraction for this important demographic, and a modest increase in out-of-state students would make the change sustainable. Such an influx of students would have the added benefit of increasing cultural diversity on the campuses and giving students a chance to interact with those from different cultural, geographical, and national backgrounds. In addition, national statistics are showing a need for northern Maine's two public universities to move in this direction.
"National figures are showing a declining number of high school graduates in our state and several others in the northeastern U.S., while those numbers are increasing in the southern and western U.S. Especially in light of these statistics, it is very important for our universities to be looking at several different markets to maintain and grow our student body," Erin Benson, UMPI's Admissions Director, said. "We think this balanced approach to enrollment management will serve us well in the coming years and is going to benefit both of our campuses and the region as a whole in many positive ways."
For more information about the tuition rate change, please contact the campus Admissions offices: