March 07, 2013
A group of Framingham State students recently joined other public college and university students from across the Commonwealth to rally support for higher education at the State House during Public Higher Education Advocacy Day.
“The rally gave us a chance to explain issues facing our own campus and issues facing higher education as a whole,” said Molly Goguen, who is the student trustees on the FSU Board of Trustees. “For the legislators, it’s a way to put faces to the issues.”
The students urged the legislature to increase funding for higher education, which has fallen off over the years, increasing the financial burden on students and their families.
“Accessibility is a huge issue,” said Larry Liuzzo, vice president of Framingham State’s Student Government Association. “Students are racking up an enormous amount of debt, which is crippling when they graduate.”
Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed a budget that would quadruple the funding for the MassGrants Program, which provides financial aid to college students. But his budget relies on new tax revenue and must be approved by the legislature.
“If we’re going to keep the public in public higher ed, then the public has to step up, too,” Patrick told the students at the rally.
Erin Reilly said she’s been very fortunate to receive both a Massachusetts state grant and a federal Pell Grant to help offset the cost of her education. She thinks more people deserve the same opportunities she’s had.
“I think it should be universal,” Reilly said. “Too many students are forced to graduate with a ton of debt.”
Nikki Curley said she was encouraged that several of the legislators pointed out that increasing support for higher education is an economic investment for the Commonwealth, because public higher education students are more likely to live and work in Massachusetts after graduation than students at private schools.
The FSU students had the opportunity to meet directly with members of the local delegation, including State Sen. Karen Spilka and State Reps. Tom Sannicandro and Chris Walsh.
“All of them are strong advocates for high education,” said Paul Manning. “We all met with them last year and we know that they are on our side.”
About Framingham State University
Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,400 students with 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a public university, Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.