I spent the last three years of my life at UMass Amherst advocating for my Alma mater to be an affordable and accessible institution for the working class of Massachusetts. Yet it seems that the UMass Board of Trustees (they are in charge of UMass Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester) think that our public universities should be MORE expensive. On June 1, 2011 the Board of Trustees decided to RAISE fees once more!
The 7.5% hike in fees raised In State tuition and fees to $22,164 a year for the 2011-2012 school year. This is HUGE DEAL! For the 2001-2002 school year an in state student paid $11,414 a year. 10 years the costs to attend any UMass has doubled. This “grossly excessive” hike is unfair to the Middle class families that were hoping that their children would receive from UMass a quality education at an affordable price.
Unfortunately the actions of the Board of Trustees never get much attention from community groups and community activists. The fight to stop their actions are usually lead by a group of devoted and highly active students with a few professors supporting their actions. The Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) has done a good effort in persuading newspaper editorial boards in western mass to cover these issues. Unfortunately it does not seem like they have had much traction in doing this with the eastern part of the Commonwealth.
Anyone that cares about this issue needs to start spreading their message not just to newspapers and law makers but to community groups and neighborhood associations. Every urban city in Massachusetts should be furious about this unnecessary tax hike that is going to be put on the backs of the middle class.
If we do nothing and remain complacent then in another years we might be looking at the UMass system doubling their fees once more to $40,000.
If you wish to get involved join PHENOM if you live in the Lawrence area then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pavel M. Payano
Lawrence School Committee Member
UMass Amherst Alumni ’06