To boost enrollment, university cuts tuition in half for some students

Preparing for projected demographic changes

The University of Maine (UMaine) will adopt an unusual strategy in hopes of boosting enrollment: it will cut tuition dramatically—by as much as half—for some out-of-state students, Jennifer Fenn Lefferts reports for the Boston Globe.

Under the new Flagship Match policy, qualified students from certain Northeastern states will pay the same tuition and fees that they would pay at their home state's flagship institution.

For some students, such as those from Massachusetts, that means the cost of attendance will be cut in half. These students will pay the price of in-state tuition for the University of Massachusetts Amherst ($14,141), saving them $14,709 off their current tuition rate at UMaine.

Future students, future revenues: Thriving in a decade of demographic decline

UMaine also plans to cut tuition for qualified students from other states by $13,200.

"I haven't seen any other program like it at any other New England public college or university," Wendy Lindsay, a director at the New England Board of Higher Education, told the Globe.

The university is pursuing the unique strategy because the population of high school students in the region is projected to shrink rapidly—by more than 5% over the next eight years. Competition for prospective students will become fierce.

Slashing out-of-state tuition will help proactively establish UMaine's pipeline of out-of-state students, says provost Jeffrey Hecker.

Expert insight: Facing flattening enrollments? Alternative student pathways might help.

"All of this has become much more of a science because everyone is in this situation of competing for students," explains UMaine President Susan Hunter. "Every flagship campus is recruiting from their neighboring states" (Fenn Lefferts, Boston Globe, 12/14). 

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