The Full Causes and Consequences of Mounting Student Debt in Massachusetts Report is Now Available!


Follow this link to get the full report.

On April 25, 2012, student loan debt topped $1 trillion. On the third anniversary, we release startling new research on the causes and consequences of the student debt crisis in Massachusetts. The Causes and Consequences of Mounting Student Debt in Massachusetts, a report by Anastasia Wilson, a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, sheds light on the real impact of student debt in the Commonwealth. Ms. Wilson received a grant from the Massachusetts Society of Professors to undertake her important research.

Check out just a few of the startling findings!

More Loans    $234M Lost $2.5B Lost Annually


In Massachusetts, unlike most other states, a higher proportion of public college students graduate with debt than their peers at private institutions. Moreover, the cost of attending public 4-year institutions more than doubled between 1987 and 2010. This is especially problematic because nine out of ten public college students stay in the Commonwealth after graduation. Ms. Wilson also calculated Massachusetts borrowers’ cumulative wealth loss per year in foregone savings and equity. These numbers will illuminate just how massive of an impact student debt is having on the Commonwealth.

Ms. Wilson’s research backs up what we already know: that students are being forced to choose between making their student loan payments, and other important life choices like buying a new car, a new home, getting married, having kids, and saving for retirement. PHENOM supports both short-term steps like Senator Warren’s Student Loan Refinancing bill and longer-term solutions that would significantly reinvest in public higher education, ultimately making it free and accessible to all residents in the Commonwealth.

Please support PHENOM so that we can continue to disseminate important research like this and advocate for affordable and accessible, quality public higher education in the Commonwealth:




PHENOM is the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts. PHENOM unites students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others from community colleges, state universities, the UMass campuses, and the broader community to advocate for better funded, affordable and accessible public higher education in Massachusetts.

PHENOM understands that our ability to create the kind of higher education system Massachusetts deserves depends on bringing students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders from all the state’s public college and university campuses together around five basic principles:

  1. Fund public higher education so it can serve the Commonwealth.
  2. Make higher education affordable.
  3. Make higher education accessible to all.
  4. Hire more teachers, researchers, and staff.
  5. Honor and expand democratic institutions of governance for public higher education.

The 500,000 people who make up the Massachusetts public higher education community are the sleeping giant of Massachusetts politics. By mobilizing a large and engaged grassroots network, PHENOM is waking up this sleeping giant so we can get the resources to create the public higher education system we and our children deserve.

Spring 2015 Newsletter image

PHENOM’s Spring 2015 Newsletter is Here!

Check out PHENOM’s Spring 2015 Newsletter by following this link. Some highlights include a recap of Public Higher Education Advocacy Day, PHENOM’s state legislative agenda, a response to President Obama’s Free Community College Proposal, and highlights of a new paper on the student debt crisis.   Related posts:

Read more