Paradoxically, Massachusetts is the home of a world-class system of private higher education and a struggling system of public higher education. The influence of private higher education and persistent indifference by state government repeatedly thwarted UMass’s ambition to increase its stature on the national scene. The result was a “boom or bust” cycle of financial support that made rational planning and institutional expansion extremely difficult, exacerbating the university’s late start toward world-class status.



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