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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Patrick proposes 2014 state budget

Office of Governor Patrick/Flickr

Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed a state budget of $34.8 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, which includes a $39 million increase for the University of Massachusetts system, according to a UMass press release.

“I firmly believe that investing meaningfully today in education … will significantly improve our economic tomorrows,” Patrick said in a message accompanying his budget announcement.

The total proposed state budget for the UMass system in the upcoming fiscal year is $478.7 million, which is a 7.8 percent increase over funding. The proposal adds $14 million for the cost of collective bargaining agreements and $25 million in new funds, according to the press release.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the budget proposal helps to ultimately achieve the state’s goal of funding at least 50 percent of the educational costs at UMass. This balance has not occurred since 2008, according to the UMass press release, when the state paid for 57 percent of UMass educational programs.

The budget also proposes a new $116 million investment in the MASSGrant scholarship program, according to the budget brief provided by the state. MASSGrant provides scholarships and additional forms of financial aid to students in high-demand programs of study, in order to ensure that more students in Massachusetts have the chance to attend and graduate college.

According to the UMass press release, the governor’s plan also provides $7.5 million for the state’s Vision Project, an incentive program for each of the 29 public campuses to pursue goals for higher education.

“The state budget is challenged to make critical investments in our economy, particularly those in education … while meeting our obligation to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities,” said Patrick in his budget message.

The budget process next moves to the state legislature where representatives will create their own proposal and send it to Patrick, who then has the power to sign their bill or veto it if revisions are necessary.

The 2014 fiscal year begins on July 1, 2013.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at pphoff@student.umass.edu

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