Taxing Wealthy Massachusetts Colleges to Generate Much Needed Revenue for Higher Education:
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez proposes to levy a 1.6 percent tax on endowments of any private, nonprofit college or universitywith a fund of more than $1 billion. This revenue would help pay for his education and transportation plans, which includes more funding for higher education. Representatives of colleges and universities objected the plan, arguing that these colleges offer a lot to the economy of Massachusetts. However, our founder Bob Hildreth had a different take, which we think is worth considering. See his statement HERE.
Massachusetts tops in higher education racial equity, but shows gap in women’s power gap
This month was full of rankings, some show positive trends while others highlight where the Commonwealth can do better. Other than familiar news that several Massachusetts schools made it to the top of US News and World Report’s annual college rankings, a nationwide report card produced by University of Southern California Race and Equity Center, shows that Massachusetts leads the nation in equity among black students at public colleges and universities. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams ranked first in the country for their equity index score, and overall, Massachusetts came out on top as the highest ranked state.
However, The Eos Foundation report, “Women’s Power Gap in Higher Education,” shows that Massachusetts lacks gender parity when it comes to women in positions of power. Massachusetts’ public universities have the lowest percentage of women presidents/chancellors of all types of higher education institutions, or one out of 15. Among the state’s 17 large universities, both public and private, none has a woman board chair. Of the 94 presidents represented in the study, only five are women of color.
Other MA news:
A victory to those who were defrauded by their schools, but the fight is not over…
A federal judge invalidated Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s attempt to dismantle an Obama-era rule that allows students defrauded by for-profit colleges to have some or all of their federal student loans forgiven. The judge ruled that the department’s postponement of the rule was procedurally improper. While this is a victory for defrauded students, it is clear that their battles will be uphill and that they should not expect much from the Education Department.
Responding to the administration’s unwillingness to held predatoty actors responsible, several states, including Massachusetts, have sought to to protect consumers rights by imposing new licensing regulations on the debt-servicing companies and passing a student bill of rights. But it is clear that DeVos won’t let this approach gain much traction either. DeVos’ latest move puts major roadblocks to state attorneys suing the industry by cutting off access to key information and data. You can read reactions from the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center and others here.
Some colleges start to get it: High tuition scare off students!
Finally some colleges are getting it! The high tuition high discount model is not working. St. John’s College has decided to reduce its tuition by $17,000 acknowledging that steady price increases in pursuit of prestige drove away many qualified students from families of moderate or modest economic means. Meanwhile, Rice University, which is better endowed, decided to restore the promise of higher education, by providing full scholarship to undergraduates whose families have incomes under $130,000. And more importantly, the school says it wants to reduce student debt — and make it easier for students from low-income families to attend.
At Hildreth Institute, we seek to elevate students’ voices at campuses so that they can be empowered to demand their campus officials to do the same! Contact us if you are interested in starting a chapter at your campus!