Fund Our Future
An Article by Ann Matica
HCC Will Discuss $574 million dollar Underfunding of Public Colleges at Campus Event
March 18, 2019
Holyoke Community College will host a Fund Our Future event on March 18 in the HCC
library from 2-3 p.m. to discuss the underfunding of public education in Massachusetts.
The panelists Sen. Jo Comerford, Massachusetts Rep. Aaron Vega, Holyoke Mayor
Alex Morse, and HCC President Christina Royal will each give a brief speech before answering
questions in the Q & A portion of the event.
This gathering follows the HCC board of trustees resolution signing that took place in
February of 2019. The resolution was passed in support for the increase of funding for
public higher education in Massachusetts. Holyoke Community College was the first campus
out of all state colleges, community colleges, and universities to pass this resolution.
According to the Massachusetts Teacher Association, public colleges and universities
are underfunded by $574 million dollars a year. President of the Holyoke Community College
MCCC Union Chapter, Stephanie Marcotte says that due to this underfunding HCC has missed
out on $9.5 million a year that was originally promised to the college in the foundation budget.
Due to the inadequate financial backing of public colleges and universities the costs of
tuition and student debt has risen. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center reports that
higher education spending per student has been cut by 32%. Marcotte says, “When fewer funds
come from the state, the budget has to be balanced somewhere. Often, it is balanced on the
backs of students through increases in tuition and fees.”
The underfunding of public education is also taking a toll on public schools from
preschool to grade 12. The Foundation Budget Review Commission found that PreK-12 schools
were under financed by more than $1 billion dollars in 2015.
The Fund Our Future campaign is aiming to pass legislation that will increase
funding for public schools, colleges, and universities in Massachusetts. The Cherish Act and The
Promise Act are bills that will attempt to decrease student debt, increase the salary of teachers
and professors, and will add enrichment programs, books, technology, and supplies to public
If The Cherish Act and Promise Act are passed HCC will be able to make many
improvements with the additional funding the college will receive. Marcott says that she would
like the funding to help provide more library hours, to increase the number of class field trips, to
make improvements in the buildings on campus, and to have more professional development,
larger salaries, and more opportunities for the faculty and staff.
This Fund Our Future event at Holyoke Community College is one of many that will be
happening throughout the state. Chicopee High School will also hold a Fund Our Future event on
March 21 from 5:30-7 p.m. On March 21 there will also be a public higher education lobby
day at the Statehouse and on May 16 a day of action at the Statehouse.
Holyoke Community College faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to bring prepared
questions to the event. The speakers will answer questions concerning The Cherish Act and The
Promise Act and the impact these legislation will have on Massachusetts, Holyoke, and HCC.
“We really need the whole community to stand behind this campaign. I see the Fund Our Future
campaign as a way to get the funding we deserve, “ says Marcotte.