An Act Committing to Higher Education the Resources to Insure a Strong and Healthy Public Higher Education System
S.816, introduced by Senator Jo Comerford
H.1260, introduced by Representatives Sean Garballey and Patricia Duffy
Why support the CHERISH Act
Accounting for inflation and changes in student enrollment, public higher education in Massachusetts has been cut by over 30 percent since 2001.
Passing the Cherish Act means properly investing in the Commonwealth’s most important engine of democracy, opportunity, and economic prosperity.
The CHERISH Act will:
- Create a program that would enable students to graduate from public higher education debt-free, beginning in FY24 with debt-free community college.
- Invest $2,000 per high-need student in expanded student support services, expanding the proven SUCCESS program to all of public higher education.
- Ensure eligibility for state health care and retirement benefits for adjunct faculty and part-time staff.
- Establish a Commission on Wage Equity and Working Conditions to recommend changes aimed at eliminating inequities based on gender, race, job category and other conditions and ensure that Massachusetts is competitive with peer states.
- Institute fair and adequate minimum funding levels for public higher education that would be phased in over five years, and prohibit tuition and fee increases during this implementation as long as the state’s funding commitment is met.
- Create a commission to assess public college and university buildings relative to health, safety and energy efficiency, and to recommend a plan to bring all buildings into compliance with this standard by 2035.
- Require the state to assume the full cost of state salaries and fringe benefits, future capital construction and renovations to campus facilities, and to pay for campuses’ existing capital debt service obligations.