How Weld's Budget Plan Will Affect Education MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Recently Governor Weld unveiled his budget plan. The plan included several severe cuts and increases involving colleges. Proposed are a 33% (or one third) tuition increase, closing many of the 29 state college campuses, and total eliminations of the state scholarship program. Also, Weld wants to eliminate the Board of Regents and Board of Education, both of which hold the trusteeship of public education. Shortly after these proposals were announced, the chief of higher education, Chancellor Randolph Bromery, resigned, stating that the changes would cause the college system to cave in.

This is amazing since during his campaign Weld called education his #2 priority, second only to fixing the state's budget crisis. It goes without saying that the changes would have a devastating effect on high school students who want to attend college. College tuition is tough to afford as it is, and it keeps rising every year. Imagine trying to figure out how to pay for a one-third increase. The increase's impact would be doubled by the absence of state-funded scholarships. Eliminating scholarships is perhaps the cruelest of all the suggested cuts. Many are awarded by academic merit. Basically, what this adds up to is, if you have the brains but not the cash, it's your tough luck. Of course, the private colleges have scholarships, but they are usually awarded to only the neediest students. Student loans are also an option, but it isn't fair to expect people to go so far into debt.

The group that would be the hardest hit by the plan would be the poor. State colleges were originally set up to make a college education affordable to those with smaller incomes. With no scholarships and higher tuition, it will be impossible for the poor to attend college. UMass/Boston has already had a $600 tuition increase. Also, fewer state campuses would make an education less accessible.

These changes would create a generation of students who can't go to college. State colleges will be only for the rich, and private colleges only for the very rich. In order for the proposals to pass, they must be shown to be fair and just. I hardly think these changes are fair and just. I would much rather see more taxes than cruel measures such as these. It's time that Weld realizes that these cuts and increases amount to TAXES; taxes on people's lives and people's futures. Maybe the state's politicians will come to their senses and introduce a different, less damaging budget plan, but don't hold your breath. n

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