As the Massachusetts Legislature makes its final decisions on the fiscal year 2014 budget, we urge Senate President Therese Murray and her colleagues in the Senate to strongly consider Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal, which the House supports, to divide the cost of attendance at the state’s five UMass campuses evenly between the state and the students.
According to university officials, only 20 years ago the state paid 70 percent of the costs of students attending UMass. Five years ago, it was a 57-43 percent split. Now, the state pays just 43 percent and families are left to pay 57 percent.
With federal aid down, grants scarce and student loan debt currently outpacing credit card and loan debt combined, keeping the costs of a public education down is critical. Considering that 70 percent of Massachusetts college students now attend a public university, according to UMass President Robert Caret, this is a state issue.
The U.S. economy is still climbing out of the Great Recession and for many, the future remains tinged with uncertainty. This is especially true for this generation’s college graduates.