Report: Increase higher education funding

Randall Phillis, president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors, joined a panel discussion at the State House on the economic impact of investment in public higher education.

A hike in state funding for public higher education will result in an immediate boost in jobs and a long-run benefit of increased tax revenue, according to a new analysis.

The economic impact analysis, released Thursday at the State House, said that an $800 million increase in funding for the state’s colleges and universities would have broad short and long-term gains.

“In the short run, investments in higher education will create good jobs and the commonwealth needs them,” said Michael Ash, a professor of economics and public policy at UMass Amherst, who co-authored the analysis.

The authors said that the investment in both construction at the schools and expanded educational activity will result in a net increase of 6,500 to 8,000 jobs. Those jobs will also be better paying and will help increase the state’s tax revenue and decrease a drain on social programs like welfare.

It’s an idea that sits well with students like Middlesex Community College sophomore Ryan Manita who said he was stressed and concerned about the current lack of support for higher education.
“I’m here to implore for more in funding,” he said.

But the question of funding remains to be answered.

“The challenge before us is how do we fund this,” said state Rep. Tom Sannicandro.

Report findings

The Economic Impact of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts report found that:
   
Increasing public funds for the state’s higher education will create an immediate increase in the number of jobs
   
Employment will continue to improve in the long run through increased tax revenue from more and better employment
   
Long-run benefits include a reduction in demand on spending for welfare and other social programs
   
Broader social and economic benefits will also be created



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