Higher Ed Budget Priorities
Achieving High-Quality, Debt-Free Public Higher Education for All
The Fund Our Future campaign for the Cherish Act
Now more than ever, state policymakers need to reinvest in a public higher education system that had already been underresourced for decades prior to the pandemic. With so many students dropping out of public colleges and universities due to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic — especially students of color and students from low-income families — we are in danger of weakening our own future. The majority of our public college and university graduates continue to work and live right here in the Commonwealth.
Passage of the Cherish Act will provide new opportunities for all of our students — and especially those who are most vulnerable — and mark an important investment in our Commonwealth’s economic engine. Supporters of public education are urging lawmakers as they craft the fiscal 2022 budget to include $136 million for public higher education over and above the FY 2021 funding evels, which the first year of the Cherish Act would provide.
- $26 million more for MASSGrant Plus to ensure that the state’s lowest-income students can pursue higher education. There is a huge gap between wealthy and working-class students, including students of color, in their ability to afford and complete college.
- $6 million in debt relief for graduates of Massachusetts public colleges and universities who go to work in the state’s public schools. This program will diversify the teaching profession at a time when districts will be hiring many new educators, thanks to the passage of the Student Opportunity Act.
- $14 million more to invest in student success programs. This includes supports for low-income students and students of color, using methods that improve the college experience and graduation rates.
- $70 million increase over FY2021 funding levels for basic operating expenses, allowing all state colleges and universities to freeze tuition and fees. The governor’s budget proposal recklessly reduces FY2021 funding for some campus operating expenses
- $13 million to provide adjunct faculty with access to health insurance. Adjunct faculty teach the majority of courses at many of our public colleges and universities, yet they are generally not eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance.
- $7 million to create pay equity between full-time and adjunct faculty, in terms of per-course pay.