Budget Amendment ID: FY2022-S3-105
Task Force on Higher Education Affordability
Ms. Gobi, Messrs. O'Connor, Gomez, Montigny and Pacheco moved that the proposed new text be amended by adding at the end thereof, the following new section:
"SECTION X. (a) There shall be a task force to evaluate the affordability of public and private higher education options in the commonwealth. The evaluation shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the impact of such affordability on the financial health and longevity of higher education institutions, including, but not limited to, the future role of small private colleges in the commonwealth; and (ii) the impact of such affordability on the workforce pipeline, including, but not limited to: (A) attracting in-state and out-of-state students to schools in the commonwealth; (B) keeping students in the commonwealth after graduation; (C) the impact of student debt on career and other financial decisions; and (D) the ability of higher education institutions in the commonwealth to produce a workforce that can meet the employment needs of companies in the commonwealth and specific job sectors in need of specialized training.
The task force shall consist of: the commissioner of higher education or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the secretary of labor and workforce development or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the chairs of the joint committee on higher education; 1 member appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 1 member appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; and 12 members appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a student attending a community college in the commonwealth, 1 of whom shall be a student attending a public university in the commonwealth, 1 of whom shall be a student attending an independent institution of higher education in the commonwealth, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the University of Massachusetts recommended by the president of the university, 1 of whom shall be a representative of state universities in the commonwealth recommended by the Massachusetts State Colleges Council of Presidents, 1 of whom shall be a representative of community colleges in the commonwealth recommended by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, 1 of whom shall be a representative of private colleges and universities in the commonwealth recommended by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts, Inc. and 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. In making appointments, the governor shall, to the maximum extent feasible, ensure that the task force represents a broad distribution of diverse perspectives and geographic regions of the commonwealth.
(b) In conducting its evaluation, the task force shall consider: (i) current cost drivers in higher education and the associated impacts on large, medium and small institutions, including, but not limited to, trends in student enrollment and changing demographics; (ii) the existing state requirements to support financial stability in higher education, including, but not limited to, those established in chapter 113 of the acts of 2019, and any changes to improve implementation of those requirements, including changes to said chapter 113; (iii) existing federal laws that limit the ability of higher education institutions to discuss school pricing; (iv) the impact of affordability of higher education on job opportunities and internships; and (v) the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the affordability and stability of higher education institutions.
(c) The task force shall convene its first meeting within 45 days after the effective date of this act. The task force shall submit a report on its evaluation, including recommendations to address the affordability of public and private higher education in the commonwealth and any proposed legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on higher education, the joint committee on labor and workforce development and the senate and house committees on ways and means not later than November 1, 2022."