Governor Foster Furcolo, in a speech yesterday to the combined houses, called for the "expansion of our scholarship program" and advocated a change in the Massachusetts Constitution which would lower the voting age from 21 to 18.
Furcolo did not go into details about his ideas concerning state aid to students. At present the program is limited to helping state residents who attend the University of Massachusetts and a private corporation which received a charter during the last session from the legislature. This corporation, established to help Massachusetts students get loans at a low rate of interest, will begin operating this spring. It is financed by private industry.
Besides the broader scholarship program, Furcolo also requested the expansion of state higher-education facilities and the establishment of state medical, dental, and nursing schools.
The proposed constitutional amendment regarding a change in the legal voting age is presently before a statehouse committee for consideration. The bill's sponsor, state representative Alexander J. Cella '51, says, "It has a good chance of passage." This is a long range forecast, however, as the legal process required for such an amendment includes the passage of the bill by two successive legislatures and a state wide referendum.
Eventual passage of the bill would probably have no effect on out-of-state voters under 21. Though the legal requirements for establishing residence vary from state to state, the term usually is interpreted as meaning the "intent to establish permament residence." In a recent case in New York State, however, two out-of-state students were allowed to vote.