State budget proposal would allow UMass to freeze tuition, fees for 2d straight year

University of Massachusetts officials said a state budget proposal unveiled today by the Massachusetts House would allow it to freeze tuition and fees at all five campuses for the second straight year.

University president Robert L. Caret praised the state budget proposal.

“A second freeze would benefit our students and their families in clear and meaningful ways, and we will continue to work to achieve this key goal,” he said in a statement.

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It “would represent a great victory for our 72,000 students and for everyone who values affordable, top quality public higher education,” he added.

The proposal would raise the university’s funding for fiscal year 2015 to a record-high $539 million, an increase of $100 million from two years prior.

The university said that along with keeping tuition and fees flat, it could invest the extra money in other areas, including to help pay for anticipated salary increase for the system’s 8,900 workers.

A university spokesman said existing employee contracts are due to expire at year’s end and negotiations are underway to reach new agreements. He said UMass expects to spend a total of at least $14 million next year to cover employee salary increases.

“In an era when many states are doing less for their public universities, Massachusetts is doing more, and that is a matter of great significance for our state and its future,” Caret said. “We are witnessing a new era of investment in the University of Massachusetts.”

The Globe reported that the $36.2 billion budget House leaders proposed Wednesday also called for more funding for drug treatment and other areas. But the House proposal did not include some of Governor Deval Patrick’s ideas, including for new taxes.