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Virginia Tech Increases Aid to Victims

USA, Aug 20: Families of the Virginia Tech students and faculty members shot to death by a student in April will receive more compensation than originally planned, university officials announced yesterday.

Each of the families of the 32 people killed will be eligible for $180,000, about $30,000 more than had been envisioned.

In addition, those among the 26 wounded who spent at least 10 days in the hospital will be eligible for $90,000 and a waiver of tuition and fees for the remainder of the time it takes them to complete their degrees at the university. Those who spent three to nine days in the hospital will receive $40,000 plus the tuition and fee waiver, and those hospitalized less than three days, as well as other students and faculty members present in classrooms where shootings occurred, can take a waiver of tuition and fees or a single $10,000 payment.

The terms apply equally to in-state and out-of-state students. All claims must be filed by Sept. 15.

The money will be disbursed from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which was created by the university after the massacre and received some $7.7 million in private donations. The fund is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg, a leading lawyer who was special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Mr. Feinberg said his initial estimates of the Virginia Tech fund's benefits had been intentionally low because he did not know how many families would qualify for compensation. He added that the fund had received an additional $250,000 in donations during the last five weeks.

Mr. Feinberg also said that those who were in the dormitory where the first two killings occurred, about two and a half hours before the mass shootings in a classroom building, were not eligible for compensation because there was not enough money in the fund.

Families of the 32 killed can be reimbursed for psychological counseling through the state's Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, he said.

The New York Times
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