Hundreds of college students rallied at the State House Tuesday to urge legislators to increase funding for financial aid programs.
Telling lawmakers that college has become increasingly unaffordable without government help, the students advocated for greater state support. Gov. Deval Patrick, who addressed the crowd, said his proposed budget does exactly that.
"We have made great strides in higher education, but there is more to do to make sure everyone can get to college, no matter their income," Patrick said.
The administration's proposed 2014 budget invests $6.79 billion in education – $152 million of that directed at making college more affordable and accessible, according to an administration press release.
This money would be used to increase funding to the MASSGrant program, a need-based financial aid program; to expand the Completion Incentive Grant Fund, which lets students at select campuses receive up to $8,000 over four years for credits earned toward a degree; to provide annual increases to the community college funding formula, totaling $20 million in FY14; and to support funding for at least half of the educational costs at the University of Massachusetts.
Altogether, the governor's FY14 budget allows for an additional $112 million in financial aid, according to a report in The Lowell Sun.
In the Back Bay, one of these programs, MASSGrant, could affect hundreds of students who go to Fisher College, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music and other area higher education institutions.
The event, organized by the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities and the Massachusetts Student Financial Aid Association, was part of Student Financial Aid day.