Taxpayer money already favors students at private institutions

December 8, 2022, see original HERE

It was disappointing to read the misleading letter by representatives of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts regarding state-funded financial aid for students (“Question 1 financial aid should be available for private college students too,” Dec. 5). Question 1 was accepted by popular vote as a part of our state constitution, and it unequivocally allocates additional funding “for quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities.”

By launching this false debate, it is they who are pitting higher-education sectors against one another even though they must be fully aware that taxpayers already provide more in financial aid to a student attending one of our state’s private colleges. According to our research, drawn from state Department of Higher Education data, on average, $2,394 in taxpayer-funded financial aid is provided to a student attending one of our private colleges. Students at one of Massachusetts’ highly regarded community colleges receive just $1,187, on average, in state financial aid.

To suggest that well-financed, tax-exempt private universities and their students are somehow being shortchanged is more than just misleading. It’s cynical, and it detracts from the serious debate Massachusetts must have about the future of public higher education in our state.

Bahar Akman Imboden

Managing director

Hildreth Institute

Boston