In exchange for imposing the cap, the Legislature will give colleges a change they have long sought: the ability to keep tuition dollars instead of sending them to the state. Rather than raise tuition, the colleges have preferred raising mandatory fees because they can keep that money.
The practice has created a distortion in the perception of education costs. Some incoming students look only at the tuition price, failing to see fees that are sometimes triple the tuition costs.
The root cause of this distortion is the pervasiveness of centralized state collection in Massachusetts. The culture of “sending the money to the state” (and the certainty of getting it back late and in part) is found everywhere in the dysfunctional culture of
Given the state’s track record, the results of mandatory state collections are situations such as the one reported, where self-collected “fees” have grown to be far higher than state-collected tuition.
Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but verify". That policy is absent in the financial operations of our state institutions, which operate more like the 19th century Catholic church, with state government as the chancery.