For Immediate Release - October 09, 2007

Governor Patrick Proposes Historic Investment in Massachusetts Public Colleges and Universities

Will file a 10-year, $2 billion Higher Education bond bill Wednesday

BOSTON-Tuesday, October 09, 2007-Focusing on improving the quality of education for all Massachusetts students, Governor Deval Patrick tomorrow will file a 10-year, $2 billion Higher Education bond bill making an historic capital investment in the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities.

The Governor's legislation will include authorization for new building or renovation projects at every one of the Commonwealth's community and state colleges and at each of the University of Massachusetts's campuses. Specific projects included in the bill were identified as the top capital improvement priorities by the Board of Higher Education, the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts, the respective campuses and the Commonwealth's capital facilities agency.

"This administration is committed to providing our students the highest quality public education possible so that they are prepared to compete with their peers across the country and throughout the world," Governor Patrick said. "If we ask our students to put forth their best effort to succeed then we must be willing to invest in the tools to help them-- their laboratories, their classrooms and their libraries."

The last major, 10-year higher education bond bill was a $618 million bond bill enacted in 1995.

The Governor's legislation includes $1 billion in authorization dedicated to capital improvements at the five University of Massachusetts campuses and $1 billion dedicated for improvements to the state and community colleges. Portions of the bond bill authorization are not designated for specific projects in order to preserve flexibility to address emergency capital investment needs and new capital investment priorities that will emerge over the next 10 years.

In conjunction with the Administration's increased capital investment in our state and community colleges, the Board of Higher Education will eliminate its requirement for campuses to provide matching funds for state capital dollars, relieving the pressure to increase student charges to pay for capital needs.

"The Board of Higher Education applauds the Governor for his significant support of capital projects on our public college and university campuses," said Patricia F. Plummer, Chancellor of the BHE. "We are particularly pleased to see that every single college and campus within the Commonwealth's public higher education system will benefit from this historic piece of legislation."

"It's important to note the serious, diligent and comprehensive process that has led to this historic call for investment in public higher education. This bond bill is the direct result of good faith collaboration across a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including the Governor's office, the Board of Higher Education, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and all of the campuses," said Frederick W. Clark, Chairman of the BHE. "The Governor's priorities as reflected in this bill mirror the ones identified throughout the collaborative process, and we look forward to our continued work together on behalf of the 260,000 students within the public higher education system."

The Patrick-Murray Administration's five-year capital plan published in August proposes a significant increase in the state's capital investment in higher education, reflecting the Administration's commitment to strengthen our public colleges and universities through the next phase of education reform. By 2012, planned state-funded higher education capital investments will represent 10 percent of the state's total bond-funded capital programs, compared to 3 percent in fiscal year 2007.

In recognition of the Administration's increased capital investment in the University of Massachusetts, the University has committed $187.5 million over the next five years - 50 cents in addition to every dollar of the state's planned five-year, $375 million investment - to further address its capital needs.

"We commend the Governor for his continued strong support for UMass and his understanding of the University's capital needs," said Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts. "The University Massachusetts has developed an ambitious capital plan, because we know that investing in top-notch facilities across our campuses will allow us to continue to attract the best students and the best faculty. Today's announcement is an important step in meeting our capital needs and we look forward to working with the Patrick Administration and the legislature to continue to make critical investments in building upgrades and new facilities across our five campuses."

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