Now, it’s up to the Massachusetts House to avoid a cutback.
State senators listened to our demands and significantly increased the budget proposed for our 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five UMass campuses in the FY18 budget.
The Senate budget proposal for public higher education in 2017-2018 released on May 16 is a significant improvement over the House proposal, but we need to take action to make sure the gains are not lost when the final budget is decided.
The community colleges and state universities requested just over $560 million for next fiscal year. The Senate proposal provides $545.9 million, about $17 million more than previous proposals from the House and the Governor, but it still underfunds those two segments by $15 million next year.
The UMass system requested $538 million, and the Senate proposal provides $534.5 million. This is a $31 million improvement on the House and Governor’s proposals, but still doesn’t meet the basic needs of the five UMass campuses.
The Senate Ways & Means proposal underfunds UMass by about $4 million and the State Universities and the Community Colleges by almost $20 million. This is a significant improvement over the House budget proposal released last month.
“The Senate budget proposal for public higher education is a significant improvement over the House budget released last month,” said Zac Bears, PHENOM’s Executive Director. “The proposal brings us much closer to stopping yet another increase to the high cost of public college in Massachusetts, but we can’t let this progress be undercut in the final budget.”
“As the over 600 people who joined us at the State House on March 1st showed, our campuses are at a breaking point. The higher education funding crisis fuels student debt, takes billions of dollars a year out of our economy, and breaks the state’s promise to provide affordable, accessible higher education to all people. We must do better. Students and families can’t afford anything less.”
The Senate proposal for public higher education is not final, and we must take action to ensure that this funding isn’t cut before the final budget gets signed in June.
Let your legislators know that public higher education is an essential public good that must be fully funded in order to prevent cost increases for students and working families who cannot afford it.
But we can still 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 your help to change minds on Beacon Hill.