Released on January 23, 2019, Governor Baker’s FY2020 budget proposal makes education a central priority, including new funds directed toward college affordability and success strategies.
The highlight of the $42.7 billion budget is certainly education: the plan features the largest overhaul of public education in decades—including the creation of a $100 million trust fund aimed at addressing college affordability and supporting student success over multiple years. Through the trust fund, students enrolling in Massachusetts public colleges and universities would get help in reducing costs and would have greater opportunities to earn college credits and land paid internships starting fall 2020.
The landmark College Affordability and Success Trust Fund, which would be seeded with revenue from the Administration’s sales tax modernization proposal, would build upon established programs that have shown promise in reducing college costs and helping students succeed in higher education. The Governor’s initiative would fully fund Commonwealth Commitment, fully fund tuition payments for Early College, establish a matching grant program for public and private four-year colleges offering last dollar scholarships to students who participate in proven college success programs, establish a matching grant program for paid internships and co-ops at public two- and four-year institutions, and create an innovation fund to pilot emerging financial aid strategies based on models from across the United States and Canada.
The proposed fund has the potential to be a game changer not only for students, but for the entire Massachusetts economy. This is an important budget proposal for students and families who look to Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities to deliver both opportunity and affordability. This proposed investment could have an impact on both individual lives and the state as a whole—because a highly educated workforce is key to economic growth.
The Governor’s budget also maintained the Commonwealth’s commitment to a number of other higher education areas. Among the highlights are:
The Legislature will be next to release their budget proposals, with the House Ways & Means version expected in mid-April and the Senate Ways & Means version expected in mid-May.