In most states, private colleges live in the shadow of giant state public universities. Around here, University of Massachusetts lives in a state where those private colleges are named Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Emerson, and Amherst, to name a few. Casting a shadow over that crowd isn’t easy.
But a funny thing happened on the way to commencement day the last few decades. UMass emerged to become a lot more than a cheap ‘safety school’ for high school seniors. Stricter admissions standards, exploding tuitions at private schools, and expanded campuses have made it so that the students being admitted to UMass are brighter than ever, and that means it’s more competitive to get in, and, yes, more expensive.