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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Network for higher education holds summit

The Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) is an organization created solely for the advocating of better and more affordable public higher education in the Commonwealth.

PHENOM operates under five principles: Fund public higher education, make public education affordable, make public higher education accessible to everyone, hire more teachers and staff, and expand the democratic institutions in public higher education facilities.

According to UMass Boston Student Trustee Alex Kulenovic PHENOM is working on passing “Governor Patrick’s…bond bill for capital funding (which includes a new academic building for UMass Boston) and the Affordable Textbooks Bill” which would enable up to 2 billion dollars to be spent on higher education in Massachusetts.

“We are also working on a report highlighting the true extent and effects of the state’s decades of under-funding of pubic higher education, and will continue to organize and to make alliances with anyone interested in fighting for a better, more affordable, and equitable system of higher education,” Kulenovic said.

Brandynn Holgate, Graduate Employee Organization Dept. of Public Policy, said that “you will see a broader PHENOM presence this year through lobbying, rallies and campus and statewide campaigns and events.” The Student Senate ratified the PHENOM chapter of UMass Boston last month.

PHENOM held a statewide Summit on Higher Education Oct. 26 that brought together groups from school all over the state including Fitchburg State College, the UMass system, Northern Essex Community College, Salem State College and Framingham State College.

“People who [attended] the summit [had] opportunities to caucus, meet in workgroups and in general assembly to shape the direction of PHENOM for the coming year,” Holgate said.

The agenda set for the next year includes: wag[ing] a campaign around affordability and access, focusing in large part on revitalizing the MASSGrant program; increas[ing] PHENOM’s power through intensive outreach and organizing-developing their network of campus councils, preparing popular outreach materials and reaching beyond campuses to community groups, alumni, parents, high schools; [and] continue working on our legislative priorities […] and trying to influence the Readiness Project’s recommendations about higher education.

Other Legislation that PHENOM is working on getting passed is “An Act Relative to Financial Aid (The Commonwealth Covenant) (S. 736),” which would create a “forgiveness” program to allow students that reached a certain level of academic excellence not have to pay portions of the loans they received.

Another act would close the “$400 million funding gap over the next 7 years to fully fund all the campuses.” This bill would also contain provisions to slow the rise of tuition and student fees.

To get more involved with PHENOM or to learn more about their causes, visit their site at