The UMass Money Problem

The University of Massachusetts is only going to get worse, writes Derrick Jackson in an op-ed for the Boston Globe:

The Globe reported this week that UMass campuses are likely headed for another 6 to 8 percent increase in fee hikes, on top of the nearly 16 percent increase two years ago. The University of Massachusetts is on course for permanent mediocrity.

Depending on how one looks at it, however, UMass has been fairly mediocre for some time.

While it’s the state’s flagship public university, many of its highest-achieving students gravitate toward higher education out of state. The school recently started an effort to become a high quality public university. Robert Holub became UMass Amherst chancellor in 2008 and set out some goals for his school: improve the size and prestige of the school’s professors, improve campus facilities, and perform some “more cutting-edge research.”

This campaign appears to be mostly rhetoric, however. Because the state keeps cutting funding for the school, and, with a low endowment—$500 million, despite the fact that it has five times as many students as the University of New Hampshire (endowment = $230 million) and seven times many students as the University of Vermont (endowment = $272 million)—raises money with tuition; it’s one of the most expensive state schools in America, which makes it hard to attract the highest-achieving high school students.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer