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Massachusetts Signs Bill to Protect Students from Abrupt College Closures

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a legislation that would provide stronger protection to students enrolled in colleges and universities.

An Act to Support Improved Financial Stability in Higher Education (H4099) bill introduced by Baker in March would enhance the authority of the Board of Higher Education to monitor the financial health of Massachusetts’ colleges and universities.

Those who are at risk of imminent closure will be required to submit a contingency closure plan and notify students, faculty and other stakeholders of its financial condition. It would also safeguard confidentiality during the screening and monitoring process.

“Massachusetts is home to some of the world’s most impressive public and private colleges and universities that also serve as major employers and drivers of business across the Commonwealth,” Governor Baker said. 

“We are very pleased to have worked alongside the Legislature to sign this important bill into law that will protect students and families from sudden college closures, while also guaranteeing those institutions confidentiality as the Department of Higher Education works with them to understand their financial status.”

The signing ceremony was attended by the Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, Senator Anne Gobi, Representative Jeff Roy, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), and SEIU Local 509

“Through this legislation, the Board and Department of Higher Education can ensure transparency for students and families without being overly burdensome to colleges,” Education Secretary Peyser said.

The members of boards of trustees of public institutions of higher education would also be required to undergo training by the Board of Higher Education on proper governance of an institution of higher education.

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