PHENOM Calls on the Senate to Level Fund Public Higher Education

PHENOM has been at the forefront of pressuring the state to give public higher education its fair share of the federal stimulus monies. In 2009, PHENOM filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Education, arguing that the state had failed to honor the letter and spirit of the federal stimulus law (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – ARRA) by allocating too little money for public higher education.  PHENOM successfully forced the state to return a significant amount to state and community colleges and UMass, which helped convince the Governor to allocate a significant amount in his FY2011 budget proposal.  “Ultimately, the Governor has final say over how to allocate monies from the federal stimulus bill (ARRA),” said Prof. Ken Haar, PHENOM board member. “We urge him to follow through on his proposal in his own budget to dedicate $96 million to level-fund public higher education.”

PHENOM also took note of UMass President Jack Wilson’s statement implying that further dramatic fee increases would be needed if the legislature and Governor didn’t sufficiently fund public higher education. Skyrocketing fees have made Massachusetts public higher education among the most expensive in the nation. “To honor our commitment to quality and affordability, the state must reverse the trend of putting ever more of the costs of public higher education on the backs of students and their families,” said Tim Sutton, PHENOM board member and graduate student at UMass Amherst.”

See more data about Massachusetts public higher education