The political leaders of my home state of Massachusetts -- Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Sal DiMasi -- want to make budget cuts due to a worsening economic situation. One area that could be affected is state and community colleges.
Budget cuts, which Patrick will announce at 5 p.m. today, "could trigger ... tuition hikes at public colleges and universities," the Boston Globe reports. "(Higher) education administrators are scrambling to reduce spending after receiving word from state officials that their subsidies will be cut by an estimated 5.6 percent."
Patrick, Murray and DiMasi should leave state and community colleges untouched. The young people of Massachusetts, whose parents may face uncertain job prospects, need affordable educational venues. Attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst or Bunker Hill Community College keeps tuition bills down -- and increases the likelihood that undergraduate talent will stay in Massachusetts after graduating. The fact that state and community colleges offer such excellent academic centers as the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History and Culture at UMass-Boston is an added incentive.
I call on Patrick, Murray, and DiMasi to avoid making any cuts to this vital section of the state budget, and encourage anyone else so concerned to do the same.