Entries by Charlotte Emslie

How Does MA Allocate Money to Its Community Colleges?

State funding for community colleges is widely considered to be allocated on the basis of enrollment. The bigger a school’s student body, the more money it receives. However, Massachusetts does not appear to follow this pattern for every campus. As demonstrated in Chart I, the bigger schools – Bunker Hill and Middlesex, for example – are on the upper end of state money appropriations for 2016. Conversely, the smallest – Greenfield, Berkshire, Roxbury – receive less. The schools that defy this size-money correlation are Bristol, North Shore, Massasoit, and Springfield Tech. At 6,286 students, Springfield Tech has fairly modest enrollment relative to its peers (As a frame of reference, Bunker Hill and Middlesex have 13,142 and 9,021 students, respectively). Yet […]

Community College Presidential Pay Raises Not Necessarily Based on Merit

Last year saw some of the highest recorded salaries for presidents of Massachusetts community colleges. The presidents of Greenfield, Bristol, Massasoit, Quinsigamond, and Mt Wachusett Community Colleges receive the highest, with annual earnings in the mid-$200,000 range.  These salaries are the result of rapid growth in the last five-to-six years. Compensation is generally based on more than performance; experience and institutional characteristics factor in to determine a president’s salary. Salaries also tend to increase over time due to factors like inflation and a changing economy. However, some presidents have seen dramatic pay raises that far outpace the expected norm. For the six-year period (2016 is the last year for which data are available), Greenfield Community president Robert Pura saw his […]

MA Colleges Spend Tens of Thousands in Taxpayer Money on Celebrity Commencement Speakers

Graduation season is in full swing, and as a hotbed of higher education, Greater Boston sees hundreds of thousands of students matriculate each spring. These festivities bring visiting parents, landscaped campuses, and, of course, commencement speakers. Celebrity speakers have long been a high-point at commencement ceremonies. Each year, politicians, academics, actors, musicians and CEOs get tapped to address graduating classes. In addition to the publicity they gain from such appearances, speakers often enjoy honorary degrees conferred upon them and the opportunity to impart wisdom on the newest generation of workers. The speaking fees these school pay are also increasing rapidly. In the last decade, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has spent close to $700,000 in honoraria for visiting speakers and lecturers […]