Increased State Funding for UMaine Education, Research Depends on Black Bear Advocacy NOW

The Maine Legislature is finalizing a two-year State budget and with Black Bear support, it will make historic investments in the University of Maine to expand student enrollment, accelerate cutting-edge research and modernize mission-critical infrastructure.

Amidst unprecedented inflation, Governor Mills and the Legislature’s Education Committee have endorsed a 4.5% increase to the University of Maine System’s base appropriations, about half of which would come to UMaine and its regional campus in Machias to raise compensation for dedicated faculty and staff and minimize tuition increases for Maine students. They have also recommended a $6 million increase for UMS research and development, which has a 6:1 return and enables UMaine to provide students high-impact, hands-on paid research learning experiences that prepare them for workforce success and directly help innovation-driven Maine companies grow.

Additionally, legislators are considering capital funding to partially address $1.6 billion in deferred maintenance across the System, more than half of which is at the flagship. The current proposal could invest as much as $58 million at UMaine, including money to match already secured funds already secured funds to construct the Green Engineering and Materials (GEM) Factory of the Future that would build on the incredible success of the world-class Advanced Structures & Composites Center, led by the visionary Dr. Habib Dagher and his team.

Finally, legislators are deciding whether to fund LD 512, which would allow UMaine and sister universities in the System to pledge that Maine students who qualify for need-based federal Pell grants will not have to pay any out-of-pocket tuition costs to attend. The proposal from Sen. Mike Tipping, of Orono, is in response to Maine’s recent free community college initiative, which has initially increased enrollment in two-year colleges by 12%.

Investing in Maine’s Future: UMS Part II Budget Priorities can be found here : UMS FY24 Budget One Pager

State appropriations have never been more important to UMaine’s ability to recruit and retain students, and support the talent and innovation needs of Maine employers.

Maine-based Black Bears, please contact your legislators today and urge them to support investments in University of Maine education, R&D and infrastructure so that our state’s people and economy can prosper.

You can find your State Representative here and your State Senator here.

If you have any questions or would like more information about UMaine’s legislative priorities, please contact University of Maine System Director of Government Relations Samantha Warren at