FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     November 4, 2015


Contact: Natalie Higgins,, 978-227-8473

 Ferd Wulkan,, 413-627-5268


PHENOM Hosts Expanding Access to Higher Education Conference at MassBay Community College on Saturday November 7th to Unite College Access and Success Advocates


At a time when a college degree has never been more of a necessity, increasing college access and success has never been more important. On Saturday November 7th, from 9:30AM to 4:00PM at MassBay Community College  (Wellesley Campus), the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) will host a conference exploring barriers and solutions to college access in the Massachusetts public higher education system. This Conference is free and open to the public.


Expert advocates, including community organizers as well as staff and students from many public campuses, will address the barriers and successes in increasing access for a multitude of groups, including students with disabilities, student parents, trans- and other LGBTQ students, and survivors of sexual violence. The program also includes a special message from Senator Elizabeth Warren. The full program of events can be accessed here.


Natalie Higgins, PHENOM’s Executive Director, explains the importance of bringing back the Access Conference, held in 2009: “PHENOM is often known for its work around college affordability, but our mission is so much bigger. We haven’t succeeded until we have free and universally accessible public higher education in the Commonwealth.”


The Conference will also kick off a Higher Education Week of Action for the Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition‘s Fair Share Constitutional Amendment Campaign. Coalition members will host events across the State featuring stories of students, alumni, faculty, and staff working to increase college affordability in the Commonwealth.



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. 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.


This Conference is co-sponsored by the MassBay Community College, Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, Framingham State University, Worcester State University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Bridgewater State University, and UMass Dartmouth.