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UMass hikes tuition after joining Obama's financial aid effort

UMass tuition hikes may mean fewer students can afford an in-state education.

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Incoming University of Massachusetts students may face new tuition hikes come the fall. (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)

Attention Minutemen: The University of Massachusetts may be a little more expensive come the fall.

UMass board of trustees will meet today to discuss a possible tuition hike of 4.9 percent. That increase would cost in-state undergraduates an average of $580.

The tuition announcement came just one day after UMass joined several other schools in a new Obama program to help students become more fiscally responsible. 

Starting in the 2013-14 school year, UMass and nine other colleges will provide all incoming students with a clear, easy to digest information sheet on how much one year of college will cost, according to the Boston Globe.

The sheet will include student's financial aid options that distinguish between grants, scholarships and loans and net costs after grants and scholarships are taken into account. It will also show their estimated monthly payments for federal student loans upon graduation.

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During the meeting Vice President Joe Biden said it was important for students to understand the increasing cost of education, adding both he and the President would have had "no shot" at affording college.

“Barack and I talk about it. Neither one of us would have had any shot. The same with our wives,” Biden said according to a media pool report. 

“We’ve signed on and agreed to do our part. But as much as we keep costs down, the base of funding is eroding even faster from the state side,” UMass President Robert Caret in a phone interview to the Boston Globe.

Caret has expressed his concern over the new tuition hike. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has also voiced his opinion saying that increasing in-state tuition should come as a last resort.

 “Like the rest of state government, UMass must demonstrate that it is doing more with less before asking more from students. And I am not convinced that UMass has yet done enough to find efficiencies and reduce costs so that any new revenue is dedicated to teaching and learning,” Patrick said in a statement to the Boston Herald. 

According to the Herald, university officials asserted the increase was within national norms. The increase would raise the average in-state cost of attending UMass from $11,901 to $12,481. The increase would generate $25 million in revenue. 

Of the proposed increase, Board of Trustees Chairman James J. Karam said, “I think it’s a fair proposition."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120606/umass-hikes-tuition-after-joining-obamas-financi