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Funding set for financial aid

Matthew Harrison/Collegian

Matthew Harrison/Collegian

In a recent report to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance, UMass system President Jack Wilson stated his intention to set aside $130.5 million in funding to student financial aid.

President Wilson was unavailable for comment Monday night, but in a release, said that, “We understand that higher education is the path to a better life for students and is critical to our future as a Commonwealth, and therefore the University of Massachusetts is doing everything it can to maintain access and affordability.”

According to the same press release, financial aid spending eight years ago amounted to just $35.6 million. Now, Wilson’s newly proposed spending plan makes for an increase of 267 percent.

Wilson was further quoted as saying, “Our mission at the University of Massachusetts is to keep high-quality education within reach for the sons and daughters of Massachusetts and that is why we are making more than $130 million in grants available to our students.”

In addition, Wilson praised the individual leadership at the universities in the system.

“Our ability to direct an ever-increasing amount of UMass funds to financial aid is a testament to the leadership and policies of our Chancellors and to the commitment and priorities of our Board of Trustees,” he said.

James J. Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees praised the aid as a welcome source of funding for needy students and their families.

“As a UMass alumnus who had to work hard to make ends meet during my student days, I know these are the right actions and the right policies, and I am proud that this University is taking the steps to keep the doors of opportunity open wide,” Karam said. “To live up to this commitment during these challenging economic times makes this accomplishment all the more impressive.”

Wilson unveiled this proposal at a meeting of the Board of Trustees financial panel, which served as a preliminary to the Feb. 23 meeting of the full Board of Trustees meeting at UMass Lowell. At that meeting, the board will vote on a number of other important topics, including audits on athletic programs, faculty promotions and tenure awards.

At the same meeting, Wilson presented a report on current financial aid statistics throughout the UMass system. According to the report, 61 percent of the system’s in-state undergraduate students are receiving some amount of need-based financial aid this year. In addition, the report’s findings also listed university students as having received $673 million in financial aid, about one-fifth of which came from the system’s own funds.

–Collegian News Staff

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