Tuition and fees freeze equalizes higher education funding, but for how long?

UMass budget request form for Fiscal Year 2016, includes first two pages

UMass budget request form for Fiscal Year 2016, includes first two pages of the document.


Copy of UMass Budget Request Form for Fiscal Year 2016, shows a chart detailing the description of funding requested.

At the University of Massachusetts, tuition and fees for in-state students totaled $1,996 for the 1986-87 school year, according to the UMass Undergraduate Student Charges Fact Sheet compiled by the Office of Institutional Research. For the 2014-15 year, tuition and fees charges increased to $13,258. This increase is largely due to the reduction in state funding for higher education.

State universities and community colleges enroll 73 percent of all college students, according to a March 2014 Chronicle of Higher Education article titled “Equalizers No More.” However, between 1990-91 and 2009-10 (both recession periods), state governments decreased their funding to these institutions by an average of 26 percent in real terms, even as operating costs increased.

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Student Loan Podcast

This podcast concerns the differences between student loan terms and the terms of other kinds of loans. It also explores the lack of student knowledge surrounding personal educational debt at UMass specifically. Alan Collinge, expert on student loans and founder of Student Loan Justice (a national nonprofit that lobbies for the better treatment of student loan borrowers), provides national context for the problems with student loans.

The American Student Association’s Student Loan Survival Guide provides concise information on how to find out the amount of your federal loans, options for repayment, and a glossary of terms.


What I learned covering the economy

I have never covered the economy in a focused way before this project, but I enjoyed the challenge of learning about the economy and how to cover it.

I always understood the principle that journalists allow nothing to get in the way of a project’s deadline, but I never fully experienced that principle until now, when I had multiple sources fall through and had to scramble to locate more. I learned that some story ideas will appeal much more to one’s audience than others, and it is important to let the ones go that do not work. I liked my first idea, but my second topic (the tuition and fees freeze) is much more applicable to my audience. It will make their connection to the broad concept of “the economy” real.

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