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UMass affordable choice for state residents, report says

Banner Staff | 9/19/2012, 8:32 a.m.

Tuition and fees at the University of Massachusetts are on average a much smaller percentage of median family income than they are at the state’s private universities and other New England public universities,  according to a new report released last week by University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret.

The report also states that one in four Massachusetts residents enrolled as a first-time freshman in a four-year public or private school in the state attends UMass.

The “2012 Report on Annual Indicators: University Performance Measurement System” takes stock of the university’s progress in producing an educated citizenry and workforce.

UMass awarded nearly 14,000 degrees in the 2010-2011 academic year, comprising 15 percent of all undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded in the Commonwealth.

The University’s impact is particularly strong in computer and information sciences and health on the bachelor’s degree level; natural sciences, computer science, and engineering on the master’s degree level; and education and business on the doctoral degree level.

“This comprehensive self-analysis is a means of knowing what we do well, in what areas we would like to grow, and how, with our excellence in education, research, and service, we can better serve Massachusetts,” President Caret said. “It is an effort that illustrates our unwavering commitment to accountability, assessment, and improvement.”

The 95-page report gauges the University’s performance on a range of indicators related to academic quality, student success and satisfaction, access and affordability, service to the Commonwealth, and financial health.

It also compares the UMass system to other public research university systems, including the University of Connecticut, University of California, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Maryland and University of Missouri.

Other highlights of the report include:

• UMass continues to be accessible and affordable. UMass tuition and fees average 13 percent of statewide median family income, a percentage much lower than that for the state’s private universities (42 percent) and other New England public universities (17 percent). UMass spends approximately $135 million of its own resources on financial aid, meeting 90 percent of Massachusetts students’ estimated financial need. Since fiscal year 2003, total institutional financial aid has increased by $99 million or 275 percent.

• One in four (27 percent) of all Massachusetts residents enrolled in a four-year public or private university in the state as a first-time freshman attends UMass. The University’s students come from every region of the state.

• UMass serves citizens of the Commonwealth. Over four-fifths (82 percent) of UMass undergraduate freshmen are Massachusetts residents, compared with a quarter (24 percent) at private universities in the state.

• UMass educates a diverse citizenry. The number of students of color enrolling at UMass has increased over the last five years. Currently, well over one-fourth (28.3 percent) of UMass undergraduates are students of color. At UMass Boston, 47 percent of undergraduates are students of color, making it the most diverse public university in all of New England, with over 4,500 undergraduate students of color.

• UMass’ research capacity continues to grow. In fiscal year 2011, the system generated $586.7 million in sponsored research, an increase of 8.1 percent over Fiscal Year 2010. Furthermore, in 2010-2011, the five campuses awarded a total of 616 doctoral degrees across various disciplines, including 89 MD degrees from UMass Medical School.

• The majority of UMass alumni reside and work in Massachusetts. Approximately three of five (60 percent) graduates of the University remain in the Commonwealth after graduation.