Monday, March 6, 2023



Steve Crawford, Crawford Strategies, 617-877-1816


Hildreth Institute Responds to Governor Healey’s Budget


(BOSTON) – The Hildreth Institute released the following statement today in response to Governor Maura Healey’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024:

“We applaud Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll for their thoughtful investments focused on removing barriers to higher education and supporting our public institutions. It is particularly gratifying to see the Administration including funding to conduct a strategic review of existing higher education financial aid programs, with a focus on streamlining and consolidating what we reported last month is an overly complex and burdensome system. 

“The investments seen in the Governor’s budget are a critical step in the right direction to reverse decades of chronic disinvestment from public higher education and the students our public universities and colleges serve. 

“After decades marked by disinvestment from our institutions of public higher education and the students they serve, it is encouraging to see that public higher education is an area that leaders have clearly identified as a priority during this legislative session. 

“The Hildreth Institute remains committed to returning public higher education to a reliable engine for economic mobility and we are encouraged by what we are seeing and hearing from leaders across the state. We look forward to continuing to work together on our shared goals of making the system more equitable, affordable, and accessible to all students of the Commonwealth.” 


Higher Education Highlights from Governor Healey’s FY24 budget:

  • $2 million for the Department of Higher Education to conduct a strategic review of existing higher education financial aid programs to consolidate and streamline financial aid programs and make the application process more transparent and easier to navigate – a recommendation included in the Hildreth Institute’s latest report on state-funded financial aid;
  • $93 million to expand MASSGrantPlus, a scholarship program that provides financial aid to students at the state’s public colleges and universities – a large scale investment that mirrors recommendations from HI’s recent reports (see below);
  • $18 million for the SUCCESS Fund, which provides grants to community colleges to fund holistic services to support retention address the needs of at-risk students;
  • $30 million to fund grants to the University of Massachusetts, public universities, and public colleges to develop wraparound services to support the specific needs of their students, with funding tied to the number of Pell Grant-Eligible students an institution serves; and
  • $20 million for MassReconnect, a new program aimed at providing residents over 25 years old without a degree a pathway to attend community college tuition and fee free. 

Recent Research from the Hildreth Institute

Rising Barriers, Shrinking AidFull Report | Fact Sheet
Comprehensive report examining state-funded financial aid available to students in Massachusetts between 2001 and 2021. During this time, state financial aid per student steadily decreased, eroding the purchasing power of state grants and scholarships. The average amount of state aid students receive now covers only 12 percent of the cost to attend public college in Massachusetts.

Underfunded, Unaffordable, and Unfair Full Report | Fact Sheet
In-depth report that spells out how, over the past two decades, Massachusetts has systematically disinvested from the state’s public higher education system. Between 2000 and 2020, state funding for public higher education dropped 20 percent (after adjusting for inflation) – from $10,907 to $8,728 per full-time student. During this time, tuition and fees increased by nearly 60 percent, while median household incomes rose only 13 percent – making getting a degree from a public college or university in Massachusetts no longer a realistic option for many households in the state. 

About the Hildreth Institute
The Hildreth Institute is a research and policy center dedicated to restoring the promise of higher education as an engine of upward mobility for all. We are committed to fixing the broken college financing system by promoting innovative policy solutions at the federal and state levels, in order to invest in higher education while eliminating the burden of student debt. We research, develop, and promote solutions for changes in public policies and institutional financial practices that will reduce costs to students and improve quality. Learn more at