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UMass President Warns of ‘Cliff’ Impacts on Financial Aid, Research


BOSTON (WGGB) – The President of UMass warns that, if the country goes over the ‘fiscal cliff,’ financial aid would be impacted and the University could stand to lose tens of millions in research funding.

UMass President Robert Caret says that while Pell Grants are not subject to the automatic spending cuts that would take effect, he notes that federal financial aid programs would face an across-the-board 8.2 percent cut, including the Supplemental Education Opportunity grant and federal work-study.

Caret adds that origination fees on federally guaranteed Stafford Loans would go up one percent, to 7.6 percent. Using Umass Medical School as an example, that would be a $9,400 difference in fees.

The cuts, Caret says, would mean mid-year reductions in financial aid packages.

In addition to the effects on aid, Caret says the university system is set to lose about $32 million in federal research funding.

Federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, provide research grants to the university system.

“The innovations and discoveries happening on our campuses that improve and save lives and nurture industries that keep the state competitive in the global economy would be put at risk if these cuts were to take place. The clock is ticking on negotiations. This is a make or break moment. All we can hope for is that a balanced and fair deal can be reached,” Caret says.

Most research in at UMass is externally funded, with government funding accounting for $384.5 million in fiscal year 2011.

Over 80 percent of that $32 million figure money would hit two of the system’s five campuses. UMass Amherst would lose about $10 million in research money, while UMass Medical School would love nearly $17 million.

Congress and the President has to reach an agreement by January 1, or automatic tax hikes and spending cuts would take effect with the new year.

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