The House passed its version of the 2012-13 budget after adopting an amendment that added $1.1 million to the financial aid account. This means that financial aid will be funded the same next year as this year. The amount appropriated for campus operating budgets was not changed and remains the same as this year. The budget does include a collective bargaining reserve to fund the contracts negotiated by staff and faculty unions.
“It could have been worse” seems to be the general consensus among higher education advocates. While that is certainly clear when you look at what happened the past few years, it is not a sufficient response. We have to keep reminding legislators of some facts that are widely known to all of us on the campuses: Students are dropping out because they cannot afford to go even deeper into debt….Staff and faculty doing more with less reaches its limits….As enrollments keep rising, state support per student keeps dropping…..Higher education serves the collective good and not just the individual.
Thanks to the 800 UMass Amherst students who wrote personal letters to the legislators, to the 600 higher education advocates who packed the State House on March 8, and to the many people who called their State Representatives in the past couple of weeks.
On to the Senate!