Advocates sees CHERISH Act as a solution to rising college costs and inflation in Massachusetts. It proposes a Debt-Free College Scholarship program with $2,000 per eligible student, emphasizing higher education investment for a more competitive state.
CHERISH Act Advocates Push Debt-Free College Scholarship
According to 22 NEWS, Massachusetts seeks $800 million for the CHERISH Act, aiming to alleviate college tuition struggles worsened by inflation. Advocates emphasize the need to invest in higher education, offering debt-free scholarships covering tuition, living expenses, and support services, particularly benefiting marginalized students.
According to Rep. Sean Garballey that the goals include achieving a more educated workforce, increased earnings, and the investment in the economic strength of our commonwealth, with the result being a more competitive commonwealth and an affordable state.
The Higher Ed for All Coalition expects the CHERISH Act to create a more diverse workforce by helping students from low-income backgrounds complete their degrees and certificates without financial barriers. This aligns with a report by the Hildredth Institute, which noted declining college enrollment among low-income high school graduates due to student debt and rising costs.
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Advocates Urge Action on Debt-Free College Scholarship under CHERISH Act
In an article from Gloucester Times, Ben Forman of MassINC warns that without the CHERISH Act, Massachusetts could face a 200,000-person decline in its college-educated workforce by 2030. Lower-income individuals, especially in regional areas, struggle to afford higher education.
Coalition members emphasized the need of CHERISH Act to reverse decades of declining state support for higher education, with a nearly 30% funding drop since 2001 when adjusted for inflation.
MeanwhileColin Jones from MassBudget estimates the CHERISH Act at $790 million and suggests a phased implementation similar to the Student Opportunity Act to make college more affordable upfront.