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Council gives testimony for tuition remission bill

Tuition Remission for undergraduate credit and degrees, running since 2000, has issued more than 19,000 certificates for human services workers to attend classes that would otherwise have empty seats.

The current program allows human services workers to fill these empty seats in undergraduate classes at Massachusetts state colleges, community colleges, or universities.

Senate Bill 680 (S.B. 680), An act to promote higher education among employees of human service provider organizations would expand this program to graduate classes at no cost to the Commonwealth. With a sector that cares for one in ten Massachusetts' residents, continuing education and learning is vital not only to organizations but to those receiving services.

Employees from Advocates, Roxbury Youthworks and Vinfen gave testimony to the Joint Committee on Higher Education urging them to give Senate Bill 680 a favorable report. A common theme among employees was the already burdensome debt accrued from an undergraduate education and the lack of resources to achieve an advanced degree. Many of those who gave testimony spoke of wanting an advanced degree in order to excel in the human services sector, but having no way of obtaining one without adding more debt to an already unbearable amount.

Executive Director of Roxbury Youthworks, Mia Alvarado, said that she wished to help her employees achieve their educational goals but does not have the funding to pay or reimburse employees. 

Christine Pearson, vice president of human resources Advocates, stated some hiring requirements now include higher qualifications, including advanced degrees.

The Providers' Council thanks all of those who gave testimony on S.B. 680. To read the Providers' Council's testimony, click here.

If you have any questions about S.B. 680, tuition remission, or would like to share your story, contact Christine Mikiewicz.