GOVERNOR PATRICK DIRECTS ADDITIONAL $55 MILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDS TO SUPPORT PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION
ARRA funding for higher education tops $350 million; Governor also appropriates nearly $4 million to expand access to scholarships and Dual Enrollment Programs
The Governor also announced that he will provide an additional $3 million to the state's scholarship program to help more students pay for higher education and $750,000 to the Dual Enrollment program which gives high school students an opportunity to study and receive credit for college level courses while still in school.
"We are fully committed to a strong and affordable system of public higher education in Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick. "Throughout these challenging budgets, we worked hard to maintain that commitment by utilizing a combination of state and federal dollars to prevent major reductions. Today's appropriation reflects our understanding that working families and students deserve access to first-rate public higher education services."
"Our leadership in public education must extend through higher education and these funds announced today by the Governor will help support our mission," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "The future success of our students is dependent on continuing education beyond high school and we know that our 29 public campuses play a critical role in these efforts."
"We're not going to have long term economic growth and competitiveness if we're not investing in the best public higher education possible," said Senator John Kerry. "This is a smart investment that will pay dividends for decades to come."
"This third annual installment of Recovery Act funding is a needed shot in the arm for state and community college campuses, helping to stave off excessive tuition and fee increases while ensuring high quality staff remain on the job and in the classroom," said Congressman John Tierney, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee. "I'm pleased the Governor has fulfilled Congress' intent to prioritize these funds so students and workers seeking to update their skills can continue to achieve their education goals."
"Preserving and expanding access to quality higher education as the job market recovers is a must. Giving people the opportunity to pursue higher education is key to our long-term economic health, and I am pleased to see ARRA funds being used for this purpose," said Congressman John Olver.
"Our superb educational institutions here in Massachusetts are a key competitive advantage in this global economy," said Congressman Stephen Lynch. "It is especially important that we sustain that edge for our citizens and our business community as we try to pull out of this recession. I am encouraged that Governor Patrick has targeted higher education for this federal funding."
The funding from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) is a key component of ARRA. Governor Patrick was one of a small handful of Governors who strongly advocated for education to be included in ARRA to help secure budgets for early childhood, K-12 and higher education programs. Thanks in large part to the Governor's efforts, Massachusetts received a total of $2 billion in ARRA funding solely for education.
The SFSF was designed specifically to help steady education services and mitigate reductions as states managed challenging budgets during the fiscal crisis. With today's addition of $55 million, the total SFSF contribution for higher education is over $75 million for 2010. Total SFSF support for higher education since ARRA was first received is over $350 million.
The utilization of the SFSF funds for higher education follows the Governor's appropriation of $204 million in federal Education Jobs Fund dollars to elementary and secondary education, a move that made additional stimulus funds available for higher education.
"Massachusetts is focused on building a seamless public education system starting with early childhood and persisting through higher education," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "The funding will help ensure that our campuses have additional support to meet the growing demand seen across all of our public campuses."
"This administration has consistently made budget decisions based on values, and support for education has been one of the core values that has consistently guided our funding decisions," said Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez. "Investing in providing a high-quality, affordable education to the students at our institutions of public higher education is something we owe to those students and to the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth in the years to come."
"We are thankful to Governor Patrick for his leadership and commitment to public higher education in Massachusetts and this great boost to campus budgets," said Fred Clark, Executive Officer, State University System Council of Presidents. "Students are flocking to our public institutions because they recognize the access to high quality instruction and training available. These funds will help ensure campuses have a better opportunity to meet the expanding enrollments."
The Patrick-Murray Administration has made significant investments in public higher education including a $2 billion bond bill for infrastructure and facility improvements at all 29 campuses. This year, Governor Patrick signed legislation to rename the state colleges to state universities in recognition of the high quality education and degree opportunities available. The Governor also celebrated the opening in September of the state's first-ever public law school at the University of Massachusetts.