“We need to invest in public higher education to jump-start our economy out of this huge recession.”
An analysis from University of Massachusetts-Amherst professors shows state spending on public higher education is a better economic stimulus than other sectors, such as construction.
The report authors argue this could help Massachusetts recover financially from the COVID-19 crisis. Report co-author economics Professor Michael Ash explained why investing in public higher education creates more jobs than casinos, for example.
“Casinos don’t put that many people to work. You only put about just under or over seven people to work for $1 million spent on casinos,” Ash said. “A reasonable estimate from higher education is not fewer than 12 people per million dollars, and there are some ways that would put more like 17 to work for every million dollars of spending.”
The report recommends funding come from federal stimulus dollars or taxing wealthy Commonwealth residents. This includes supporting state legislation such as the CHERISH Act, which aims to increase public higher-ed spending by $120 million annually.
Max Page is vice president of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association, which supported the report. While the CHERISH Act has failed to pass in past legislatures, Page said he thinks COVID-19 will bring fresh urgency.
“We need to invest in public higher education for this new reason, which is to help us jump-start our economy out of this huge recession,” Page said.
The authors estimate $120 million would generate about 3,300 jobs. The report, titled, “An Economic Analysis of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts,” is available at massteacher.org.
Laura is a national producer for Public News Service. Before that, she was the news director at WRFI in Ithaca, NY, and prior to that worked as a print journalist in Israel. She has covered basically everything: technology, local government, health, social issues, peace and justice, cultural topics, etc. Her pieces have been published in the Atlantic, Business Insider, NPR News, NPR member station WSKG, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Next Web, the Jerusalem Post, Mic (formerly known as PolicyMic), the Times of Israel, Geektime, AlterNet, the Oakland Tribune, Walla! News, and the Jewish Exponent.