In the wake of the Massachusetts general elections, the Boston area can expect to see policy changes in the coming months. Governor-elect Charlie Baker, a Republican in a notably Democratic state, has already planned meetings for next week with Governor Deval Patrick and his transition team in order to initiate his new plans as soon as possible.
An issue Baker’s campaign highlighted was the problems within and potential growth of higher education. Since Massachusetts is home to 114 colleges and universities, any slight change in state government policy concerning higher education holds great significance, as it will affect many state residents. One policy goal of Baker’s is to reduce the cost of higher education in Massachusetts, as well as expanding job opportunities for students. Once in office, Baker plans to make higher education more affordable through utilizing online course offerings that would make it possible for any student to earn a degree conveniently. His plan also involves the creation of accelerated degrees—ones that could be completed in three years—in order to cut the costs of higher education by at least 25 percent.
Boston College students should be aware of Baker’s proposed changes to education policy. Baker wants to reduce the amount of debt for college students by making the cost of higher education more affordable. In many cases, potential debt is driving students to out-of-state schools, where the cost of living is typically lower. Compared to the national average, it costs about 40 percent more to attend a public college in Massachusetts, according to Baker’s campaign page. Over the past decade, tuition at UMass and other state universities has increased by 80 percent.
Although many of Baker’s ideas on lowering the cost of higher education in Massachusetts would only affect the state’s public schools, his planned changes could alter how BC plans its increases in tuition. With many neighboring schools making their degrees more accessible, BC may be forced to do the same.
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