Our Commonwealth's public colleges and universities are increasingly important for Massachusetts' economy and its residents. The majority of our state's public high school students who go on to college attend a public college or university in Massachusetts. And students attending public campuses are significantly more likely than those attending private ones to live and work in Massachusetts after graduation, contributing to our communities and our economy over the long-term.
At a time when expanding access to higher education is more important than ever for our economy - and for our people - the costs of attending public college have been rising substantially. More students in Massachusetts are taking out loans to pay for public college and university in the state, and they are going deeper into debt to do so: inflation-adjusted debt for students taking out loans in Massachusetts has gone up from an average of $19,000 in 2001 to $29,000 in 2014 -- an increase of 55 percent.
Why this sharp increase in student debt? In 16 Charts: Higher Education Funding in Massachusettspoints to reduced state funding for our community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses as a primary cause. As state support has decreased, campuses have turned to tuition and fee increases to make up much of the difference, shifting the cost onto students and their families.
Other key findings from the paper:
Massachusetts cut support for public higher education by 14 percent since FY 2001, after adjusting for inflation.
As state funding declined, enrollment increased, meaning that per student funding decreased by even more: a 31 percent cut since FY 2001.
Massachusetts ranks 30th nationwide in capital spending per student between FY 2001 and FY 2015.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.
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