President Meehan's statement on the Pioneer Institute report
We agree wholeheartedly with the Pioneer Institute’s view that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has built a public research university that has taken its place alongside “some of the most prestigious and elite research universities in America.”
What we don’t share is Pioneer’s confounding assertion that this is a problem.
In reviewing these offerings from the Pioneer Institute, several things seem very clear.
We think it’s clear that this report was essentially “written” before the study was launched, and it is equally clear that Pioneer has an agenda of protecting those Massachusetts private institutions that haven’t been able to keep up with UMass in terms enrollment, rankings and stature. These institutions have not worked as hard as we have to bring about efficiencies and certainly do not provide students with the same value and affordability opportunities.
We think it is unfortunate that Pioneer apparently would like to force Massachusetts residents to attend to institutions that trump UMass in cost – but not in quality.
At its core, this report is about protecting those private institutions in this state that want to charge more and deliver less than UMass does. These institutions have lost enrollment, some of it to UMass, because people are making the rational decision to opt for the affordable quality that UMass provides.
As the first undergraduate alumnus to serve as president of the UMass system, I am proud to see how much this university has grown and how well it is serving the needs of the people of Massachusetts. We will never apologize for our success, nor will we retreat from our commitment to excellence. We have experienced historic growth, but we believe this growth is sustainable and affordable. We believe our growth is critical to Massachusetts and to its long-term economic needs.
The Commonwealth needs a world-class public research university to remain successful and to retain its position as a global innovation and economic leader, and I believe that’s what it has in UMass.
President, University of Massachusetts