State Predicts Shortage Of College Grads, Calls For More Funding

A report released Tuesday by the state's Department of Higher Education predicts that Massachusetts will face a shortage of degree-holding workers, and calls on lawmakers to invest more into public institutions.

The report, called "Degrees of Urgency," predicts that by 2025 public campuses will graduate roughly 55,000 to 65,000 fewer students than employers in the state will need.

This fall, undergraduate enrollment at Massachusetts’ public colleges dropped by 1 percent compared with last year, making it the first time enrollment has fallen in a decade.

To increase enrollment numbers, educational officials recommend a boost in state funding, highlighting that aid has been cut by 14 percent since the 2008 economic crash,  with Massachusetts ranked as one of the worst states nationally when it comes to providing need-based aid.

But education officials say an expected drop in the state's high school population is contributing to the predicted decrease in degrees. Within the next six years, the report states that high school populations are estimated to fall by 9 percent.

Another study released earlier this month also forecasts fewer college grads over the next two decades.

Recommendations also include an additional $210 million over the next five years for a grant program aimed to help low-income students afford college.

On the upside, studies show that at the University of Massachusetts as well as other state university campuses Latino graduation rates are catching up to white students.


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