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From UMass Boston to Vermont’s Champlain College, institutes of higher education are trying to boost the number of graduates in a field that barely existed ten years ago: cyber security. And colleges and universities are scrambling to keep up with increased cyber security threats.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed a $34 billion state budget on Friday, including more than $1 billion in higher education spending. That's nearly a 16 percent increase over last year.

Patrick approved the full $479 million appropriation for the University of Massachusetts, which means the system will freeze tuition and fees for students in the new academic year.

Gov. Deval Patrick on Boston Public Radio

Gov. Deval Patrick says he’d welcome a plan in Massachusetts that would allow students to attend state colleges and universities without paying tuition or loans out of pocket.

Last week, the Oregon legislature gave initial approval to a bill last week that would allow students to repay the state with a percentage of their future earnings.

Former Boston University President John Silber, right, talks to former Boston Mayor Kevin White at a party in 1977.

The cost of college is a divisive issue in Congress. A political logjam forced interest rates on federal student loans to double on July 1 and new attempts for compromise failed yesterday.

But there are innovations in addressing student debt. The Oregon legislature gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow students to attend state colleges without paying tuition or loans. Instead, they’d repay the state with a percentage of their future earnings.

This idea had roots in Boston.

The Massachusetts Legislature has given preliminary approval to a budget proposal that includes $479 million for the University of Massachusetts system.

The state’s top higher education official is celebrating the nine percent increase in spending at a time when more and more jobs require some level of college education.

The City of Boston is adopting a new school assignment policy that the school committee voted on late Wednesday night that aims to offer more students the option to attend schools closer to home.

Under the new policy, families have a list of schools that are categorized by various factors such as MCAS scores, distance and classroom size. Boston School Committee spokesman Lee McGuire said the new plan will reduce the distance students will have to travel to school by 40 percent, and will increase the chances of a family getting the school they requested.

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