As federal and state funding for the University of Massachusetts system is uncertain pending future budget cuts, the UMass system has started to enhance its fundraising capabilities, striving for $103 million within the 2013 fiscal year, according to UMass officials.
UMass President Robert L. Caret said the UMass system depends heavily upon Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget reform plans in order to maintain funding.
“It [the proposed budget] is a fair and equitable approach and is the key to providing our citizens with a higher education option that melds quality with affordability,” he said in a statement Friday. “We need this to keep UMass affordable for Massachusetts citizens.”
About 75 percent of UMass research and development spending comes from federal grants, according to a UMass press release Friday. The UMass system stands to lose $32 million if congress goes forward with the sequestration budget cuts, according to UMass officials.
At a trustees meeting held Feb. 13, Norman Peters, chairman of the advancement committee, said the financial future of UMass looked bleak.
“We’re being cut in all directions,” he said. “The state, we’re down to 41 percent of our total budget state reimbursement, so we’re looking for alternative sources of money. Fundraising is a great resource.”
Within the first half of the 2013 fiscal year, the UMass system has already managed to generate 58 percent of their goal funding, according to UMass officials.
UMass announced that Lowell has raised $11.3 million and Dartmouth has raised $1.4 million so far.
Ann Scales, director of communications at UMass, confirmed that all projected revenue is accurate and is expected to grow.
While the UMass system is in the middle of a massive fundraising expedition, UMass students said they are mostly in the dark about the efforts.
Sean Fidler, a sophomore at UMass Amherst, said he was surprised to hear about the fundraising.
“I was personally not aware of any fundraising,” he said. “Normally they send emails about these things and I haven’t even gotten an email about it.”
Nathan Feshback-Meriney, a sophomore at UMass Amherst, said he was also unaware of the fundraising, but said he was pleased to hear the school was trying to generate more revenue.
“I really haven’t heard much about it,” he said. “I know prices are rumored to be going up so more funding wouldn’t hurt.”
Feshback-Meriney said Amherst could benefit from greater funds.
“They are working on new dorms for about 800 people,” he said. “We also have plenty of buildings that need to be renovated or just completely redone, so the money would really help.”
Amy Wood, a junior at UMass Boston, said she hadn’t heard about the fundraising efforts, but speculated that, if fundraising goals were met, tuition might decrease.
“I hadn’t heard about it at all but I don’t spend that much time on campus,” she said. “If the fundraising lowers tuition then that would be pretty great.”