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LOWELL-- The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has announced that, as of Jan. 1, 2004, the University of Massachusetts Lowell will be among only nine institutions of higher education offering so-called Quinn Bill programs for police officers approved to continue operating in the state. UMass Lowell joins UMass Boston as the only approved state institutions on the list offering bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice.
Under the Quinn Bill, police officers have been able to earn pay raises for completing an associate's, bachelor's or master's degrees. Following a 2002 audit, many of the 46 Quinn Bill programs were criticized for lax standards. While the state and cities and towns have spent roughly $100 million dollars annually for the police benefit, there has been no measurable effect on the quality of policing. More stringent standards, especially with regard to faculty qualifications, were applied in this latest review, resulting in the elimination of 70 percent of the existing programs. Other schools can reapply next year.