Finding A Way Along Route 9: Amherst
As our week long road trip continues along Route 9, we stop in Amherst to delve into public higher education and how the University of Massachusetts is trying to reconcile growth with big budget cuts.
Amherst and the surrounding area benefit enormously from public and private higher education. But the real drama is story of Massachusetts public higher education system. State colleges and UMass campuses have lost millions in state funding. WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports.
UMass Amherst is an isolated hamlet of high learning. The City of Springfield is a city trying to reinvent itself after emerging from bankruptcy and state receivership. In a unique partnership, UMass is attempting to help the struggling city recover. WBUR’s Monica Brady-Myerov reports.
Students here may not be keenly aware of the big challenges facing public higher education in the state. But they are aware of the challenges facing them, once they graduate. We spoke with several students about their fears and prospects in a down economy.
Proclaiming that education is at “the crux” of the economy and democracy, Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor Jill Stein said she would seek savings elsewhere to increase the state’s public higher education budget and advance a green jobs agenda.
The picturesque building depicted on much of the UMass memorabilia — the Old Chapel — is closed down. This is a campus in need infrastructure-wise. WBUR’s Bob Oakes reflects.
With state budget cuts to fund public universities, schools like UMass Amherst face rising costs, fewer tenured professors and older infrastructure.