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An Economic Analysis of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts

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>> Read "An Economic Analysis of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts: Recovering from the COVID-19 Crisis and Laying Foundations for the Future"
>> Read article on about report on Public News Service

In a study supported by the Massachusetts Society of Professors and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, PERI's Michael Ash and Shouvik Chakraborty urge state leaders to increase spending on public higher education to address the immediate financial crisis accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic and to build a more just and equitable economy in the Commonwealth.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Increasing investment in public higher education will create more jobs in the short term compared to other sectors with comparable levels of spending such as casino construction and operation, public road construction, and other public construction projects.
  • In the absence of significant federal stimulus, a progressive tax plan in Massachusetts will equitably fund the greater investment in public higher education, and that investment will yield better returns than other types of spending. While it costs approximately $69,000 to educate someone in a public college or university in Massachusetts, that person ends up contributing $146,000 in taxes.
  • By making public education more accessible and increasing enrollment, the state will have a larger tax base of people with better-paying jobs.
  • When wealth is more equitably spread across the Commonwealth, there will be a reduction in the need for spending on public welfare, Medicaid and other social safety net programs.
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