President Wilson supports Commissioner Freeland warning
BOSTON - University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson today expressed his "strong support" for Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland's warning that the state may be "mortgaging the future" as a result of cutting funding for public higher education.
"I want to express my full support for Commissioner Freeland in his contention that the state is mortgaging its future by the disproportionate cuts that have been made to higher education. This is a state that is driven by innovation. Research and a highly educated citizenry represent our most important resources for the future. I worry often that the state has become too quick to cut higher education because of the feeling that higher education will find a way to make it work," President Wilson said.
President Wilson added: "We have been able to find ways to cope with repeated budget cuts because we owe it to the current students and to the communities we serve. However, there is a limit to how far one can continue to make things work, and we may already be past that limit.
"Even more troublesome is the fact that every cut is really just a shift of cost from the state to the current students. While the colleges and universities work hard to defray that cost with increased financial aid, there are inevitable losses of potential talent to our communities, our industries, our economy, and our future. It is time for the state to view investments in higher education as investments in the future of our citizens and our communities. We must reverse the trend of disinvestment in public higher education."
While funding for public higher education rises and falls, the overall funding trend has been down in recent decades. For example, the five-campus University of Massachusetts system this year is receiving $465 million in state funding (including federal stimulus funds), which is less than the $483 million in state funding UMass received a decade ago in FY 2001.
"This is a problem we must address. Our Commonwealth's future depends upon it," President Wilson said.
Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-548-0238
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