Garballey champions act to support higher ed, students

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Surrounded by numerous colleagues, state Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on Higher Education, on behalf of House Bill 1214, An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher-education system.

Also known as the Cherish Act, the legislation aims to fund the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities with $500 million and to ease the economic burden carried by students.

“Food insecurity is being faced by many students across our 29 campuses, and we have students deciding to drop out between semesters,” Garballey said in a May 10 news release. “We have accumulated four decades of lost investment in higher education. This has caused the cost of a young person’s education to shift from the state to the universities, and from them to the student.”

Massachusetts, long thought of as a beacon of higher education, is falling behind many other states, the release said. The Cherish Act aims to restore the state to 2001 funding levels.

In addition, tuition and fees would be frozen for five years if funding goals are met.

In an age where students graduating from the state system are very often $25,000 to $30,000 in debt, the legislation has the strong support of the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association and numerous advocacy groups. The MTA has prioritized this bill as part of the Fund Our Future initiative.

State Sen. Joanne Comerford, who testified before the committee alongside Garballey, introduced the Senate version of the bill.

This news announcement was published Monday, May 13, 2019.