An unexpected jump in out-of-state enrollment at the University of Maine System this fall is boosting the finances at the two biggest campuses, officials told system trustees Monday.

The University of Maine in Orono booked an additional $2.5 million in tuition revenue and the University of Southern Maine an additional $500,000. Through cuts and leaving some positions vacant, USM eliminated an anticipated budget deficit of $3.4 million, leaving it with a projected $78,999 surplus for the fiscal year ending in June 2018, officials said.

“Given Maine’s demographic challenges, we are pleased with the results of our work to bring new out-of-state talent and energy to our institution and state,” said USM President Glenn Cummings.

The increase in fall tuition revenue is a fraction of the system’s annual $529 million budget and comes amid ongoing efforts to stabilize system finances. The latest five-year financial projections do not anticipate a systemwide budget surplus until 2022, when a predicted surplus of $632,841 would be the first since 2009.

The report on the financial impact of fall enrollment was presented Monday at the trustees’ regular meeting in Orono.

Out-of-state students pay up to three times the tuition of in-state students. At the flagship campus in Orono, which more than half of the out-of-state students attend, annual tuition is $27,960 for out-of-state students, compared with $8,580 for in-state students. Orono has 3,820 out-of-state students.

At USM, which has 1,011 out-of-state students, in-state tuition is $7,860, compared with $20,670 for out-of-state students.

Out-of-state enrollment systemwide is at an all-time high, and has increased 36 percent over the past five years. Out-of-state students now make up 20 percent of the system’s enrollment of 28,997.

“The strength of our programs and commitment to affordability are creating competitive advantages for our universities that are attracting more students to our aging state,” Chancellor James Page said.

The other five campuses have either flat or lower-than-expected tuition revenue. Systemwide, there was an increase in fall tuition and fee revenue of $1.8 million, and a third of it – $630,000 – was immediately used in financial aid for additional students.

Also Monday, the trustees approved the transfer of land from USM’s Portland campus to the city to allow for construction of a roundabout at what is now a six-way intersection at the edge of the USM campus and next to the University of Maine School of Law.

Construction on the single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Brighton Avenue, Deering Avenue and Falmouth Street will begin in 2019.

USM benefits because the southern end of Brighton Avenue, which currently runs through the Portland campus, will be cut off. That will help campus officials pursuing a $189 million vision to revamp the Portland campus to include a new $30 million student center, a five-story dorm, a boutique hotel and perhaps a food studies culinary institute.

The trustees also approved a plan for USM to lease campus space to Maine Composites Alliance for a lab located in the Bioscience Wing of the Science Building on the Portland campus.

The Maine Composites Alliance, an industry trade group, had previously had the Composites Engineering Research Lab – or CERL – in Brunswick Landing in partnership with Southern Maine Community College.

Also Monday, the trustees approved new World Language Education programs in Spanish and French at the University of Maine at Farmington, in response to a foreign language teacher shortage in Maine’s K-12 schools.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

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Twitter: noelinmaine

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