Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Best Investment This State Can Make

This post is for anyone who thinks investing in Public Higher Ed is just giving a bunch of freeloading students a helping hand handout when they should go and secure loans in excess of a hundred thousand dollars to pay for private education - or shut up and work at McDonald's or something. President Jack Wilson has an important message for yousz guyz.

A single taxpayer's dollar spent on the University of Massachusetts results in $8 earned by the state's economy, Jack Wilson, president of the five-school system, said yesterday during a visit to SouthCoast. The equation for the direct economic impact of the school's five campuses reads like this: $435 million legislative annual appropriation plus $90 million in other state funding equals $4.3 billion fed into the commonwealth each year.

"Invest in a university and it pays off big time."

He won't get an argument from this blogger.

Best of all, UMASS spreads the cash love around the state.

"Ninety percent of the research done outside of Route 128 is done by the University of Massachusetts," he said. "A lot of times people don't pay attention to the area beyond Route 128. UMass does."

The sad thing is that, coming from the perspective of a UMASS Dartmouth student, the system is woefully underfunded. Prices have skyrocketed to attend this school, yet class sizes are way up and the buildings are continuing to deteriorate. UMASS Dartmouth doesn't have enough classrooms, full-time professors or even a legitimate theater that can house most events comfortably, with room for all those who would want to attend. Just ask students who wanted to see the gubernatorial debate held here before the last election - only a select few were allowed in.

I can't count the amount of times I've heard demeaning remarks directed toward the UMASS system. Governors and the entire State Legislature have shunned and slashed us in the past. Other colleges in this state have done everything in their power to keep the UMASS brandname down, such as single-handedly killing a UMASS Dartmouth School of Law. Despite all that, the system has survived. Despite all that, more people continue to attend and want to attend.

As President Wilson has testified, UMASS is one of the best investments this state can make. The state gets $8 for every dollar invested in it - a profit line that would send ExxonMobile stocks through the roof. Even though this state's fiscal situation is precarious, it has to find the money to make sure the UMASS system can quickly begin to shine. It's the key to rebuilding the middle class and attracting new workers (and the tax dollars that come with them) to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


joe said...

Oh come off it Ryan. People are working hard to make this campus better. Look at our dear Chancellor who is so gracious as to invest 10 million dollars into making sure there's enough food and sitting space on the ground floor of the library.

Sure, the Gub. Debate was crowded, but how many times have you been frustrated by the lack of lounging space in the library?

More money in the system would be fantastic for everyone -- but only if it's being spent wisely.

I think we could use a regime change.

Ryan Adams said...

I didn't say people were trying to make this campus worse... I'm pretty sure I made the point that we're doing *okay* despite everything.

However, this school IS deteriorating. I'm all for a new library... but that's an example of 'getting by.'

Just take a look at Group 6 if you want to see deteriorating... there are lots of bandaids, but all the academic buildings need serious efforts to get back into proper shape (or maybe even entirely new buildings). That's not this administration's fault that it isn't happening; they don't have the resources. Hence, my call.

Regime change is fine and good, but the best President can't do much without enough resources.

joe said...

I have to correct myself!

3 Million was a private grant, 1 million was fundraising, and 6 million is school money.

I just feel like there's very little we can do in our current situation. Sure, we got a new governor that's gung-ho about umass, but when we had a $1 billion surplus, mitt and crew tried to put 400 million of it in the UMASS system but the legislature wouldn't do it. That's going to be our obstacle.

I need to find out who my state rep is and write him some letters.

Anonymous said...

On my campus, the Gen Ct. restored some of our Chancellor's worst cuts which the Glove backed 100% (the cuts, not the restoring). He also appointed some truly horrible trustees who in turn appointed heinous Chancellors.

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