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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 1B: Student charges for the university; revolving trust fund; tuition credits; annual report

Section 1B. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

''Student charges'', in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees that are charged to students for general attendance at the university; provided, however, that ''student charges'' shall not include any fee or other charge established by the university that is specific to a particular course, program or activity or any charges for room, board or student health insurance.

''Student tuition credit'', a reduction in student charges for an eligible student.

(b) The board of trustees shall fix and establish student charges for the university. In-state tuition and mandatory student charges shall preserve affordability for residents of the commonwealth. Out-of-state student charges shall appropriately balance the financial needs of the university with the need to be competitive with peer institutions and, to the extent possible, cover, at a minimum, the actual cost of a student's education. Tuition shall comprise the majority portion of student charges. In establishing student charges, the board of trustees shall consider factors including: (i) the Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States Department of Labor; (ii) the Higher Education Price Index calculated by Commonfund; (iii) tuition and fee rates at peer institutions; (iv) collective bargaining costs; (v) total support from the commonwealth, including direct appropriations and support for capital construction and maintenance; and (vi) other relevant data and measures. The board shall increase in-state student charges by not more than is necessary to adequately fund the university.

(c) All student charges received by the university under this section shall be retained by the university in a revolving trust fund and shall be expended as the board of trustees directs for the operation and support of the university. Any balance remaining in the trust fund at the close of a fiscal year shall continue to be held in the trust fund, shall remain available for expenditure in subsequent fiscal years and shall not revert to the General Fund. The trust fund shall be subject to audit by the state auditor.

(d) The university shall provide to each student a detailed statement of all student charges. The statement shall be in a form approved by the board of trustees and shall include a breakdown of the student charges and show the discount rate for in-state students and the discount for a student who is eligible for a tuition credit.

(e) For employees of the university whose salaries are paid from tuition retained under subsection (c), fringe benefits and collective bargaining shall be funded as if those employees' salaries were supported by state appropriations and the funds shall not be assessed as fringe. This subsection shall apply only to fringe benefits and collective bargaining costs associated with salaries paid from retained tuition.

(f) All tuition waivers, grants and scholarships identified in chapter 15A or any other general or special law and reductions collectively bargained for that are in the form of tuition or fee waivers shall be student tuition credits. Students that are eligible for a tuition credit shall have their student charges reduced by the amount of the tuition credit.

(g) The board of trustees shall not accept any tuition waivers, grants or scholarships identified in chapter 15A or any other general or special law or reductions collectively bargained for that are in the form of tuition or fee waivers established on or after July 1, 2016 unless the reduction is accompanied with an appropriation that fully supports the reduction or the reduction is approved by the board of trustees.

(h) The university shall file a comprehensive report annually not later than March 1 with the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on higher education, the secretary of administration and finance and the secretary of education on: (i) the status of the percentage of student education costs placed upon the student and subsidized by the commonwealth; and (ii) the efficiencies and effectiveness of initiatives and programs at the university that save the commonwealth and students money and make the 5–campus system more efficient.

(i) For the purposes of calculating and funding the fringe benefits for employees whose salaries are paid from retained tuition at the university as provided for in subsection (e), all fringe benefits and collective bargaining costs of employees paid from retained tuition shall not exceed the amount of tuition remitted to the commonwealth as reported in the university's audited financial statements for fiscal year end June 30, 2016 and provided that the amount shall continue to be paid annually under said subsection (e).