“As one of the wealthiest states in our nation, there’s definitely some glaring and growing gaps … “
The Lumina Foundation research showed more than 62% of adults, ages 25-64, have earned a postsecondary degree or workforce certification, outpacing the national average of about 54%.
Genesis Carela, Massachusetts state policy associate for The Education Trust, said despite the gains, higher education has become inaccessible for far too many.
“As one of the wealthiest states in our nation, there’s definitely some glaring and growing gaps as to who can afford college,” Carela pointed out.
Tuition and fees at Massachusetts public colleges have increased nearly 60% in the past two decades, while state-funded financial aid fell by 47%. Carela stressed it is concerning for students working in a knowledge-based economy which relies on workers with college degrees.
Revenue sources stemming from the Commonwealth’s new “millionaires’ tax” could help lower tuition, as well as increase academic supports for underserved students.
Carela noted a statewide shortage of school counselors is one factor forcing many families to navigate the college admissions process on their own.
“Some of these first-generation or low-income students,” Carela observed. “They may not have all of the tools at their disposal, or at their family’s disposal, to make some of these really informed, long-term decisions that will impact them for the rest of their lives.”
Carela added schools could also help students by integrating counseling services with other departments such as financial aid, tutoring and career centers to improve the chances of students graduating without student debt limiting their futures.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.