Hold Gov. Baker Accountable to Fund Higher Education

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The Governor released his budget for 2019 and its results will continue his trend of taking money away from higher education. With the cost of public higher education in Massachusetts rising to the same amount of private institutions, students will see another price increase in the future. However, this year will be one of the hardest for students to deal with as the Governor is proposing to cut $5.2 million from the Collective Bargaining Costs. This was a three year plan to help Colleges pay for costs like Professor's salaries. This will lead to public colleges around the Commonwealth to be left with the tab leading to more tuition and fee increases for students who are already dealing with high amounts of student debt. As a Student Trustee I know the effects this will have for Community College Students. Raising tuition for Community Colleges will be targeting the poorest and most vulnerable students. These are students who are working a full time job to pay for expenses, dealing with family responsibilities like taking care of their children and displaced workers who are going back to school to get a job in today's changing economy. Raising tuition for them will lead to lower enrollment, which has been declining for years and add to the number of students who deal with food and housing insecurities. Colleges like Bunker Hill Community College, Cape Cod Community College and UMass Amherst have had increases in students dealing with food insecurities and the Community colleges have had a huge increase in people attending the food pantry's. The governor's budget is also expecting to take away $7.1 million from MassGrant funds for Community Colleges and reducing funds for STEM fields especially, the STEM Starter Academy.  In conclusion, by removing this funding schools will see a fee increase between 9-12% per student. This will only hurt the students trying to continue their education so they can be contributing members to the Commonwealth especially students who have food insecurities, are homeless, are dealing with thousands of dollars of student debt and displaced workers. This is not just a community college problem or a UMass problem. This is an issue that will effect every student in Massachusetts and by signing this petition we can fight for ourselves against making higher education even more unaffordable. We have seen in the news that student activism can work, so lets fight for a debt free future and for every struggling student.