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UMass financial aid rises to record levels

BOSTON - The University of Massachusetts is directing a record $158 million of its own funds toward student financial aid during the current year in an effort to maintain affordability and to curb rising levels of student debt, President Robert L. Caret announced today.

University of Massachusetts students are receiving $736 million in all forms of financial aid during the current year, with $158 million of that sum coming in the form of grants provided by the University.

The $158 million that UMass is channeling into student financial aid is up from $133 million last year. The University's direct spending on financial aid has more than doubled over the past five years, rising from $78 million in Fiscal Year 2006 to the current $158 million.

"We are working hard to maintain affordability during an era of declining state support. Making sure that our students have access to meaningful amounts of financial aid is the single most important step we can take as state funding declines," President Caret said.

Pointing to the need to maintain quality and affordability, President Caret has suggested that the state commit to providing 50 percent of the funding for the University's general education programs, with student fees providing the remaining 50 percent. Currently, the state provides 45 percent of general education funding and students and their families 55 percent.

"We know that state government leaders are hoping to address this situation, and we intend to work with them every step of the way. University leadership has worked hard to address the affordability issue -- and the record levels of aid that we are providing dramatically illustrate those efforts. But at a time when we are seeing surging interest, applications and enrollment, we are asking the state to do more," President Caret said at a meeting of the Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance.

Other key findings in the financial aid report:

  • 98 percent of all UMass in-state undergraduate students judged to have need - and 62 percent of all in-state undergraduates - are receiving need-based aid.
  • UMass students are having an estimated 91.8 percent of their demonstrated need met through financial aid this year.
  • Average student debt upon graduation rose to $25,944 last year, up from just less than $15,000 five years ago.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073


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Robert P. Connolly
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