Important Higher ed bills in hearing!
Since 2001, state funding for public colleges and universities has declined by one-third, from $12,000 per student each year to only $8,000 per student. That is a dramatic cut that hurts our students and our Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Higher Education is reviewing important higher education bills which all advocate for a proper re-investment in our public higher education institutions:
- An Act to Guarantee Debt-Free Public Higher Education would guarantee free public higher education as a right for all residents of Massachusetts and create a grant program to pay the full cost of tuition and fees for eligible students at any Massachusetts public college or university, or at public certificate, vocational, or training programs, up to the equivalent of four years of public college or university.
- An Act relative to the endowment match program would appropriate funding for the Endowment Incentive Program meant to encourage private donations to the public college system. The state would match private donations to public colleges and universities with appropriated funds.
- Fair Share Amendment Bill would amend the Massachusetts Constitution, creating an additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation.
- The Cherish Act would implement the core recommendation of the state’s Higher Education Finance Commission which could result in more than $500 million in state funding for public higher education in Massachusetts, reversing the budget cuts made by state government since 2001.
Mount Ida Students and Families’ Fight for Justice is not over
Students and families are suing Mount Ida’s former overseers with fraud, negligent representation, and violations of the Massachusetts Right of Privacy Act and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. According to the lawsuit “the sudden closure of Mount Ida deprived enrolled and prospective students of their ability to meaningfully consider alternate schools, and Mount Ida knew this.” Surprisingly, the main defense of Mount Ida’s attorneys was that a college has no fiduciary duty to its students except to provide physical security, and that they have no contractual obligation beyond teaching the courses students have already paid for. The case is now in the hands of a federal judge who must decide whether former students at Mount Ida College can proceed with their lawsuit against the college.
Other MA news:
Warren’s Free tuition and Student Debt Forgiveness
Despite the many criticisms Senator Warren’s proposal has received, a new poll shows that 64% of voters would favor the proposal of a wealth tax on the nation’s 75,000 richest families to pay to make state and community colleges tuition-free and pay off most existing student loan debts. Although some critics question the progressiveness of her forgiveness plan. A study from the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College argues that getting rid of the debt would benefit the overall economy by lowering the average unemployment rate by 0.22 to 0.36 percentage points over 10 years and adding between 1.2 million and 1.5 million jobs per year. Warren’s plan calls for eliminating up to $50,000 in student debt for any borrower in a household that earns less than $100,000 a year, and would lower amounts of debt cancellation, on a sliding scale, for those earning between $100,000 and $250,000. No household with income exceeding $250,000 would be eligible. Warren’s campaign defends the progressiveness of the plan explaining it would use money from extremely wealthy to provide the debt relief and would wipe out the student debt entirely for millions of poor borrowers.