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Move To Massachusetts For Free Tuition? What About Fees?

Move To Massachusetts For Free Tuition? What About Fees?

I really enjoy when CheapScholar.org gets to showcase great tuition deals across the nation. I especially like it when I hear the word FREE combined with tuition.

Last week, the University of Massachusetts – Lowell (UML) just offered a free tuition option for students looking to transfer in from local community colleges this coming Fall Semester. This new program (referred to as Advantage Plus) will provide up to four semesters of free tuition (which should be enough for most students to complete their bachelor’s degree requirement).

The following are the qualifying requirements for the free tuition offer:

  • Must be a graduate from one of 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges
  • Students must have and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher

The current in-state annual tuition rate at UML is $1,454. So a student could potentially save about $3,000 over the span of two years while they complete their bachelors degree. Seems like a pretty descent offer right? Well… as Paul Harvey says “and now for the rest of the story”…

Even though UML is offering free tuition, this population of students will still be responsible for annual fees totaling over $9,000 and if they plan on living and eating on campus, that will be an additional $9,000. So, they get $1,454 in free tuition each year but could experience about $18,000 in extra expenses…ugh. Doesn’t sound like such a great deal anymore.

The basis of this story is that it is important for you to inquire about ALL the fees being charged by the colleges that you are looking at attending (Tuition, Room, Board, and Fees). In the case of UML, they have amazingly cheap tuition but they will quickly depress your college savings with their fees. Other schools may have reasonably high tuition rates but little to no fees. So be smart and try to compare apples to apples when looking at college costs and not apples to oranges.

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Massachusetts Students Brace For Record Tuition Increase

Massachusetts Students Brace For Record Tuition Increase

Last year the University of Massachusetts adopted a 15.8 percent increase on tuition. However, this was on paper only because at the same time they implemented this tuition increase, they also provided students with a one time “rebate” of $1,100 to offset the $1,500 increase (netting students with only a $400 increase last year). This coming academic year the one-time rebate is following suit with it’s intent of being ONE-TIME ONLY and will not be available to students and thus they will be absorbing the full 15.8 percent increase that was put into place last year.  Is that clear? I know.. clear as mud…

Basically, the trustees for UMass are keeping tuition and fees the same (a freeze) as last year but they are not providing the additional discounting (rebate) so the bottom-line cost for the families is increasing. The tuition freeze part of that statement sounds great but the end result is not so palpable for families and students that are trying to make education affordable.

After the Board of Trustees for UMass approved the tuition freeze for next year, UMass president Jack Wilson stated that: “I don’t think there was much of a prospect to lower the fees. I think it was a great achievement not to have an additional fee increase over that which we had established last year.’’

The new tuition and fee rate for the 2010-2011 academic year for Massachusetts residents is $11,732 and room and board charges are $8,814. Out of state residents can anticipate paying $23,628 for tuition.

If you are a University of Massachusetts student and you find yourself scrambling to try and make ends meet and cover your increased tuition expenses, please don’t hesitate to use CheapScholar.org as a resource for ideas to help lighten the impact on your checkbook.

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