Will Massachusetts catch up?
New York will be the first state in the nation to offer tuition-free public college to all working families. The bill has some serious issues, but we know we can do even better here in Massachusetts.
Even with the bill’s failures, this action puts New York out front in the national conversation on free public college. And it makes us ask the question: Will Beacon Hill make our state a national leader in public higher education?
Our legislature needs to (1) fully fund campus budgets, (2) pass the Finish Line Grant to ensure one free year of tuition and fees, and (3) provide the money our system needs to provide a debt-free public higher education to all residents. New York has taken an important step, but we can do better.
Right now, Massachusetts is 43rd in the nation when it comes to public spending on higher education as a share of income. The state government has cut funding for public colleges and universities by 31% per student since 2001. Now, the state pays for less than 20% of the UMass system budget, forcing that heavy burden onto the people who can least afford it—students and working families.
While states like New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Georgia are moving in the right direction, Massachusetts is making college more expensive for students and families.
Our state reps and state senators need to start taking this issue seriously. They can take decisive action to ensure that we fully fund our public colleges and universities. We need to keep our promise of affordable, accessible higher education for all working people.
We can change the conversation and keep making a difference!
First, use this tool (link) to email your legislators telling them yet another year of tuition and fee increases will hurt you, your family, and your campus.
Second, take a few extra minutes to give you legislators a phone call. It’s easy and they want to hear from you. Here’s a link to help you call your legislators.
Third, get on our email list and stay tuned for updates. We need you to change minds on Beacon Hill.