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CRUNCHING COLLEGE COSTS

Keep state university within reach

February 12, 2009
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THE PARENTS of college-bound students in Massachusetts may believe they can afford higher education through the University of Massachusetts system. But the university's board of trustees are expected to vote today on whether to increase student fees by roughly $1,500 per undergraduate per semester. How many Massachusetts families would be priced out of UMass, already one of the most expensive public university systems in the nation?

At the Amherst campus, while the administration screams about deficits, they invest millions on high-end dorms and recreation centers. While they preach about access for "needy" students, they seek to attract out-of-state students who pay the highest tuition and fees, reducing access for Massachusetts students. They are cutting faculty and teaching assistantships, which will increase class size and decrease quality. Many families of UMass students can expect to pay more and get less.

UMass should be accessible to everyone. Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland has announced a budget freezing tuition for higher education, even in the face of a $2 billion deficit. Governor Patrick and the Legislature should be leading the nation by investing in higher education, even in these hard times.

Robin McLean
Shutesbury
The writer is a graduate student at UMass-Amherst.

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