FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         August 29, 2014

Contact: Natalie Higgins (, 978-227-8473)

Ferd Wulkan (, 413-627-5268)


PHENOM Joins Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Fight for Student Loan Refinancing; Startling New Data on Student Debt in Massachusetts


On Friday, September 5th, the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts ( will bring together Massachusetts residents affected by student debt to thank Elizabeth Warren for her fight for student loan refinancing and to talk about the impact of student debt on their lives. This event will take place at 12 noon outside of Senator Warren’s office at 15 Sudbury Street in Boston.

This week, Generation Progress ( released new data regarding the impact of student loan debt on Massachusetts residents. Nearly one million Massachusetts residents have student loan debt. The total of debt for the state is startling at more than $24 billion.

Senator Warren has introduced a bill that would allow student loan borrowers, including those with graduate and parent loans, to refinance their loans to a lower interest rate. The bill is unique as it also provides relief for those with private loans. According to Generation Progress, 581,000 Massachusetts borrowers would benefit from student loan refinancing. Nationally, the savings could total as much as $14 billion in the first year alone.

“One of PHENOM’s five guiding principles is affordability of public higher education,” said Natalie Higgins, PHENOM Executive Director, “and Senator Warren’s student loan refinancing bill is an important step towards making public higher education affordable. Consumers can refinance car loans and home mortgages. Why should student loans be treated differently?”

Stephanie DeMartino, 45, a Southbridge resident, said: “Each month, I pay $316 toward a balance of $38,900. The balance never goes down because the interest is higher than my payment. I have paid more than $6,000, but the balance increases because of interest. I am currently unemployed. Each week, I carefully place my unemployment check toward my accounts including my student loans. I don’t have any money to put gas in my car to drive anywhere since the entire unemployment check is paying my bills.”

After a series of hard-hitting speeches, PHENOM plans to present a giant Thank You card to Senator Warren, and make a commitment to continue the fight for affordability from the campuses to the State House to the halls of Congress.