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MTA President Paul Toner on Patrick's Decision to Direct $55M to Higher Education

We thank the governor for his deep and ongoing commitment to public education and to Massachusetts students. The governor could have spent this stimulus money in many worthwhile ways, but in making today’s announcement he showed his understanding of the needs of our students, our community colleges, our state universities and UMass.

The governor continues to make a significant effort to do whatever he can to strengthen our public higher education institutions and our public schools – and for that, he deserves the applause of families throughout Massachusetts.

We recognize that our state, like the rest of the nation, continues to face difficult economic times, that money is scarce and that stimulus funding is in great demand. With that said, we must do all we can to ensure that first-rate public colleges and universities remain accessible to current and future generations of Massachusetts students.

Funding for public higher education has been hard to come by in recent years and has seen substantial cuts since fiscal year 2001. It is our hope that this new funding is the beginning of the end of that trend, and the MTA will continue working with both the governor and the Legislature to build for the future.

Our public colleges, state universities and UMass are not only hugely important to the students who attend them, but to business and industry, which cannot grow and prosper without the help of an educated work force. The MTA and all of its members have fought long and hard to promote understanding of that great truth throughout the state, and the governor’s decision is an indication of the success of our efforts to spread the word about the value of our public higher education system and the urgent need to provide adequate resources for it.

We laud Governor Patrick for consistently recognizing the importance of education, and we urge everyone on Beacon Hill to follow his lead and make our public colleges, state universities and UMass a budget priority now and in the years ahead.