UMass Plans Fee Hike, Hopes To Boost Financial Aid

The University of Massachusetts system plans to raise fees by $1,500 a year, hoping to raise $68 million to offset declining state aid and expand its financial aid program.

Spokesman Robert Connolly on Monday said UMass President Jack Wilson will ask the finance committee Thursday to endorse the 15 percent hike. It would raise the average tuition-and-fees bill from $9,500 to $11,000. Officials said last week that tuition, the smaller part of the bill, won't increase.

State aid cuts have left the university with a $130 million funding gap over the next two fiscal years. Plans to cut the state budget in 2010 would see the university lose an extra $102 million in state aid and employees' fringe benefits.

The university also is cutting expenses to bridge the funding gap.

The fee hike will add $20 million to help students from families earning a state median income of $78,500 receive grants, instead of student loans.

This program aired on February 10, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.