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UMass: ‘ZooMass’ No More?

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

The Boston Globe: “In boosting its academic profile, UMass is following the path previously taken by several local private colleges, notably Boston College, Tufts University, Boston University, and, most recently, Northeastern University … Still, there are different implications when the state’s flagship public university becomes less accessible. For starters, there are lots of parents who are dumbfounded — and furious — when their kids get rejection letters from UMass. After all, they grew up when the place was known as ‘ZooMass,’ a safety school more associated with call-the-cops ragers than academic rigor.”


“The acceptance rate for UMass Amherst hasn’t changed much — it’s 60 percent, down just a couple of points from when he arrived. But the pool has grown stronger. UMass is now attracting many more students who have the credentials to get into selective private colleges but go public because their families make too much money to qualify for significant financial aid, yet not enough to cover private tuition without signing on for lots of loans. UMass isn’t cheap — about $30,000 per year for in-state tuition, fees, and room and board — but that is less than half of the going rate at most privates.”


Meanwhile: “UMass Amherst bought a campus in Newton after Mount Ida, a small college drowning in debt, suddenly shuttered last spring … having a presence in the humming east will allow UMass students to spend a semester or two in the Mount Ida dorms, pursuing the internships they need to graduate with work experience.” The Mount Ida campus may also serve as “a tool to recruit rising-star faculty who have the potential to leave their mark in the life sciences and technology fields — and can bring in large grants — but who are too attracted to the vibrant scene radiating from MIT in Cambridge to consider moving to Western Massachusetts.”