For Immediate Release - March 24, 2009

GOVERNOR PATRICK DIRECTS $162 MILLION IN FEDERAL RECOVERY FUNDS TO PUBLIC COLLEGES

Education investment is part of Massachusetts Recovery Plan to help preserve programs, avoid layoffs and mitigate student fee hikes

BOSTON - Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today announced $162 million in federal education recovery funds will go to all state and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts system, restoring funding to campus budgets, averting layoffs and program cuts and mitigating student fee hikes. To date, Governor Patrick has committed a total of $620 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for K-12 education, special education and higher education programs and services.

"With enrollment at an all time high, it is critical that tomorrow's leaders have access to the opportunities they need today," said Governor Patrick. "Federal recovery funds will help our public colleges and universities prepare our students for success after graduation, giving the Commonwealth a highly-skilled workforce to compete in a 21 st Century global economy."

For Fiscal Year 2010, $162 million in federal education recovery funds will be used primarily to restore funding for public higher education to pre-recession levels. These investments will save programs and positions at all of the colleges while mitigating the need for schools to institute student fee hikes to plug budget deficits, saving students money and ensuring access to an affordable education. Additionally, federal funds will allow theUniversity of Massachusetts to rebate the $1,500 fee increase announced last month, and instead employ the standard annual increase to cover the cost of inflation.

If the higher education recommendations in the Governor's FY10 budget are approved by the Legislature, Governor Patrick will use $162 million in federal education recovery funds to restore budgets to FY09 levels as follows:

  • UMass: $81.6M
  • Community colleges: $40.3M
  • State colleges: $36.7M
  • Other forms of support including training grants: $2.8M

"We know the key to a strong economy is ensuring that all students have the support they need to succeed," said Senator Kennedy. "Sadly, because of the current economic crisis, many students and their families have had to put their plans for higher education on hold, and many colleges and universities have had to raise tuition and fees to cover costs. We're all very grateful that President Obama recognizes the urgent need to commit resources to higher education, and I will continue to work with Governor Patrick, Senator Kerry and our colleagues in the House so that every person who wants to go to college has the opportunity to do so."

"You can draw a straight line between our ability to rebuild and sustain a strong economy and how well we educate and train our workforce. This investment will save jobs today and ensure hundreds of young people access to a quality, affordable education to prepare them for the jobs of the next decade," said Senator Kerry. "This funding is especially critical in today's strained economy when so many people are already hurting. I'm grateful to Governor Patrick for dedicating significant resources to such an important aspect of our state's future."

Education Secretary Paul Reville, Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland, University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson, several college presidents and university chancellors and other higher education officials joined Governor Patrick at the University of Massachusetts at Boston to make today's announcement.

"In the Commonwealth, higher education plays a multi-faceted role in our economy, both training much of our workforce and employing many of our citizens," said Secretary Reville. "The strength of our institutions of higher education is a barometer of the strength of our economy, and now more than ever we must remain committed to their vitality to grow our workforce and prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow."

Secretary Reville also pointed to additional federal recovery money dedicated to higher education, including increases in Pell Grant and work study funding. Pell Grant funding will see an increase in the maximum grant for students from $4,731 to $5,350, and will help an additional 85,000 low-income students pay for college. Additionally, federal recovery funds include $9 million for work study programs at the 29 campuses, adding to the $45 million Massachusetts already receives annually.

"These dollars will help our public colleges continue offering our students the quality educational programs they need to prepare for lives of contribution as workers and as citizens," said Commissioner Freeland. "At a time when our state needs to nurture the talent of all our young people, the federal stimulus program is an important investment in the future of the Commonwealth and the country."

Commissioner Freeland noted that there is also great potential for public campuses to receive additional funding through a series of competitive research grants in science, health, energy and agriculture.

"Governor Patrick is to be commended for taking this critical step toward restoring funding for public higher education in Massachusetts," said UMass President Wilson. "The Governor's action represents an investment in the 63,000 students who attend the University of Massachusetts and an investment in our state's economic future."

In addition to today's higher education investment, Governor Patrick unveiled two other key parts of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan last week. First, he announced he will commit $168 million in federal recovery funds to 166 school districts to help them reach so-called foundation spending levels and avoid program cuts and teacher layoffs next school year. Second, he pledged $280 million for every school district in the state to support special education services, plus an additional $10 million for special education services for pre-school students.

Education investments are a critical component of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

  • Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
  • Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
  • Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.

Governor Patrick played a key role in developing the federal recovery law's State Stabilization Fund that is now being used to shore up state education funding as well as to prevent layoffs and cutbacks in other critical areas of government during the recession. Over the next two years, Massachusetts will receive an estimated $1.88 billion to support early education, K-12 education and higher education. For more information about what the federal recovery law means for Massachusetts, please visit www.mass.gov/recovery.

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