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A day after the state cut $100 million to the University of California system, UC Berkeley announced a new plan this morning to cap costs for families earning less than $140,000 a year.

The UC Berkeley aid program, dubbed the Middle Class Access Plan, would limit the required contribution for total attendance costs at 15 percent for families grossing between $80,000 and $140,000 annually. That amounts to a cap between $12,000 and $21,000. The current in-state cost of attending UC Berkeley is $32,634, which includes tuition, living costs and books.

Students would still be required to contribute a share of costs beyond their family contribution, this year set at $8,000, according to spokesman Dan Mogulof.

UC Berkeley estimates the plan will cost the campus an additional $10 million to $12 million starting in 2012-13. The school plans to pay for it with existing financial aid funds, donations and higher revenues generated from out-of-state students.

Families of an estimated 6,000 students would save more than they would under current guidelines, Mogulof said. It was not immediately clear which income groups would benefit most. Those at the upper end of the plan's income range, between $120,000 and $140,000, currently receive little aid, so the plan may provide new relief for those families.



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