Democrat Coakley unveils higher education proposal

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BOSTON (AP) — Democratic candidate for governor Martha Coakley says she wants to make higher education more affordable.

Coakley unveiled a plan Thursday aimed at students who want to attend community college and can't cover the expense with traditional financial aid. Under Coakley's plan, the state would cover the balance of the tuition.

Coakley said Massachusetts should also join 34 other states and establish a $5,000 tax deduction for families who make contributions to Massachusetts' 529 college saving plan.

The financial aid portion of Coakley's plan would cost the state an estimated $225 million. The tax deduction would cost up to $20 million.

Coakley said the full-need financial aid policy recognizes the importance of expanding access to post-secondary education, both to increase opportunity for young people and to put Massachusetts on the path to long-term economic prosperity.

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