Ask anyone, anywhere about where’s the best place to get a college education, and the answer you’ll often hear is Massachusetts. And it makes sense. Beyond the big elite private schools like Harvard and MIT, there are scores of others — not to mention a large state-wide publicly funded higher education system.
But here’s the thing: there’s growing concern about the future of that public higher education system. For years across the country, state spending on higher education has been declining, and in Massachusetts, that’s been especially true. From 2008 to 2010, Massachusetts cut its appropriations for higher education by 37 percent — more than any other state in the nation.
For colleges and universities, that means less investment in buildings and facilities, and more layoffs. For students and their parents, it means higher tuition and fees and more debt. So is less funding for higher education the new normal? Or is there a way to reverse what some say is a troubling dis-investment in higher ed?
Sean Goodlett, professor of history, Fitchburg State University
Marty Meehan, chancellor, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Paul Reville, secretary of education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts