Support for higher ed down since FY 2001, tuition and debt up
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center
March 1, 2018
Educated and Encumbered: Support for higher ed down since FY 2001, tuition and debt up
While the economic strength of Massachusetts is built largely on having the best-educated workforce in the nation, funding for public higher education has declined substantially since 2001. This has led to large increases in tuition, fees, and student debt. Those financial obstacles can limit opportunity for high school graduates, potentially weakening our state economy. In the past dozen years debt for graduates of four-year public colleges and universities has grown more rapidly in Massachusetts than in 48 of the 50 states.
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's report, Educated and Encumbered: Student Debt Rising with Higher Education Funding Falling in Massachusetts, finds that per-pupil funding for public higher education has declined by 32 percent since 2001 in Massachusetts, funding for scholarships has declined at a similar rate, and per-pupil debt has increased 122 percent since the 2003-2004 school year. The average debt among public university graduates now almost equals that of students graduating from the state's private colleges and universities.
The report finds that, by 2016, more graduates of public higher education had debt than graduates of private institutions - 73 percent compared with 54 percent.
Since Fiscal Year 2001, the state's public higher education funding has decreased by about $3,000 per student in today's dollars while tuition and fees rose by about $4,600 per student in that same time.
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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Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108
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