Updated: Jun 8
By Branden LaCroix
Tuition and fees at Framingham State University will increase by approximately 2.2%, or $250, for Academic Year 2023-24 (AY 23-24).
Framingham State has had a tuition freeze for the past three years starting in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), which was put in place to ease the stresses facing students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dale Hamel, executive vice president.
Hamel said the tuition freeze was not intended to be long term as other cost increases have made it unviable.
“There are significant costs that the University will be facing going forward, including substantial increases in utilities, collective bargaining costs, and inflation in general,” he said.
During the Board of Trustees meeting March 31, Dale Hamel said the Finance Committee discussed the possibility of not increasing student fees for FY24.
Hamel said the continuation of the tuition freeze hinged on how much the University would receive from the Fair Share Amendment.
The Fair Share Amendment, passed last November, was an initiative to increase taxes on incomes above $1 million and use the extra resources generated for transportation and education, according to the Massachusetts Legislature website.
He said the passing of the Fair Share Amendment was projected to increase state revenue by approximately $1 billion.
Hamel said a proposal was developed along with all other Massachusetts state universities that if enough funding was directed toward higher education “to support operational costs,” all state universities would commit to a freeze on tuition and fees.
According to a report by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Data Center, while many other state institutions held a tuition freeze between FY2021 and FY2022, Framingham State University is the only four-year public institution that did not increase the cost of tuition and fees for FY2023.
However, Hamel added the University’s current planned budget for AY23-24 does include the cost increase because it is still not clear exactly how much of the Fair Share funding the University will receive.
He explained newly elected Gov. Maura Healey’s budget directed “a little bit over a third” of the Fair Share Amendment revenue to higher education, with the rest divided between transportation and K-12 education.
“So we did have discussions with the Board of Trustees that if the governor's budget were to prevail, that it looked good in terms of support for operations,” he said.
However, Hamel said the House budget for FY24 made significant changes to the original allocations, with $500 million being directed toward transportation and only approximately $174 million of the remaining $500 million being spent on higher education.
He said a significant portion of the $174 million in funds - approximately $154 million - would be used for additional financial aid, a large portion of which is intended for the MassReconnect initiative.
MassReconnect is a scholarship program that covers all tuition, fees, and supply costs for Massachusetts residents 25 years old or older to attend state community colleges, according to the Massachusetts government website.
Hamel said FSU administrators are waiting to see what the state Senate’s proposed budget for FY24 will be in May. He added the proposed budgets by the House and Senate will have to be reconciled in a conference committee, which will not happen until sometime in June or July.
Because a decision on tuition and fees needs to be made, Hamel said FSU is making decisions based on the House’s budget.
Along with tuition and fees, Hamel said the costs of room and board are also increasing, with rent in residence halls increasing by $240 and meal plans increasing by an average of $230.
He said the residence halls are “on their own” and are therefore not subsidized.
With the tuition and fee increase, Hamel said the “list price” for AY23-24 will be $11,630.