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UMass Board approves

Post 9/11 combat veterans to pay reduced fees

LOWELL- The UMass Board of Trustees today approved the "Welcome Home Waiver Program" which extends a partial fee waiver to Massachusetts veterans who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan combat areas since September 11, 2001.

Under the program, returning Massachusetts veterans who gain admission to degree programs at UMass are eligible for an annual mandatory fee waiver of up to $2,000 for a maximum of eight semesters (total value $8,000). The program targets the same combat veteran population eligible for the Commonwealth's "Welcome Home" bonus program and it supplements a tuition waiver policy for student veterans already in place at UMass.

"As we welcome our veterans home, it is fitting for the University to provide these fee waivers in recognition of their service and sacrifice," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson.

The policy received the approval of the University's Board of Trustees at today's Board meeting at UMass Lowell.
"We felt it was important to support those who have served our country in combat zones by honoring their service and assisting with their desire to earn a degree," said Robert J. Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees.

The "Welcome Home Waiver Program" was advanced by UMass Board of Trustees member Larry Boyle. Boyle is a UMass Boston alumnus who served in the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam.
Boyle stated, "I feel it is our duty to honor the service of today's veterans and I am pleased the Board of Trustees has approved the 'Welcome Home Waiver Program.'"

The policy requires that students take 12 or more credits per semester and would not apply to continuing education or online courses.  By some estimates, since 2001, more than 26,000 Massachusetts residents have served in the armed forces in active service in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and could qualify for the benefit. 
The policy is expected to go into effect for the upcoming 2008-2009 academic year. Funding for the waivers is expected to come, at least in part, through external sources.

Robert P. Connolly 617-287-7073
Libby DeVecchi 617-287-7023


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