updated 8/15/2007 12:53:58 PM ET 2007-08-15T16:53:58

Families of victims in the Virginia Tech massacre would receive larger payments and benefits than originally envisioned under a final proposal for distributing more than $7 million in contributions received by the university.

The proposal by consultant Kenneth Feinberg, who administered the government's victim compensation fund after the Sept. 11 attacks, calls for payments of $180,000 to families of each of the 32 people killed in the April shootings. The initial plan called for payments of $150,000.

Those who survived the attack by student Seung-Hui Cho but were hospitalized more than 10 days would get $90,000, plus free tuition as long as they pursue a degree at Virginia Tech. The initial plan called for $75,000.

"It's always risky to talk about fairness and justice after a tragedy like the April shootings," Feinberg said in an interview. "So I'm not sure families are able or are expected to talk about those in terms of what's just and fair after losing a loved one, but I do think that the program will be effective in at least distributing and providing some degree of financial help."

Complaints led to changes
Feinberg made the changes after meeting with victims' families. He said the families are angry about how the Tech administration handled the aftermath of the shootings, and the changes he made were designed to reflect some of those concerns.

He proposed that people hospitalized for three or more days be eligible for $40,000 plus free tuition. Other would be eligible for either a $10,000 cash payment or free tuition.

Feinberg estimated that the proposal would essentially exhaust the $7.1 million raised for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. The fund would be kept open until the end of the year to receive additional contributions.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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