Vermont is nationally renowned for our substantial investments toward ensuring that our children receive the highest quality PreK-12 education we can afford. Vermont’s taxpayers receive a return on this investment, measured in part by our high school graduation rates and the quality of our educators. Vermont’s generous support for PreK-12 education is one factor that makes our state an attractive destination for young professionals looking to raise families and enjoy the high quality of life we have to offer. Sadly, our state’s dedication to education ends after high school graduation.
Ongoing neglect of higher education is one of the major reasons that led me to run for State Representative. State appropriations for higher education demonstrate the stark contrast of priorities in Montpelier; while Vermont ranks 3rd in the country for per student PreK-12 education appropriations, we rank 49th for higher education. The Legislature’s inability to adequately support our in-state colleges and universities creates an insurmountable financial obstacle for many working families. Moreover, the high tuition at Vermont’s state colleges prevents many potential first generation college students from receiving the education necessary to break the cycle of poverty. Worse yet, students of Vermont’s state colleges graduate with nearly $30,000 in debt, on average. This directly prevents many of our most creative and talented young professionals from starting businesses or buying a home.
While increasing our investment in education is essential to preparing Vermont for the high-tech, global economy of the 21st century, we must also limit the cost of creeping bureaucratization of our universities. Taxpayers should not be asked to support universities that prioritize bloated administrative salaries, like we have seen at UVM. Smart investments in higher education are necessary for Vermont to compete in the 21st century. If you share this vision, I would appreciate your vote on November 4th!