Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act Would Modernize & Improve the Program

May 16, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

[WASHINGTON]- Today, a bicameral group of US Senators and Representatives introduced the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, a bill that would strengthen and expand the nation’s flagship college affordability grant program. The Pell Grant helps almost 8 million low- and moderate-income students afford higher education annually, and has done so for over fifty years. This comprehensive bill from Senators Murray (D-WA) and Hirono (D-HI) and Representatives Scott (D-VA), S. Davis (D-CA), with 10 additional co-sponsors, would put the program on firm financial footing by shifting it to mandatory funding, expanding eligibility for the program, and improving the purchasing power of Pell by boosting the award. It builds upon several existing proposals from other Congressional offices, and Young Invincibles is happy to support the bill.

Young Invincibles’ Government Affairs Director, Reid Setzer added: “This proposal modernizes and expands the Pell Grant to make it more responsive to the 21st century student. Pell currently does not reflect the true cost of college, making it difficult for today’s students to complete a degree without taking on significant debt. This proposal helps combat this trend by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award and pegging future awards to inflation. Equally important, this bill would take Pell off the chopping block by shifting funding from discretionary to mandatory spending, giving students and families the assurance that Pell will be there when deciding how to pay for college. This proposal also opens doors to higher education for millions of new students to prepare them for jobs in today’s workforce, including DREAMers, people who are incarcerated, and previously defrauded students, among others. Investing in America’s future is critical to help grow the economy, and modernizing Pell to reflect the needs of today’s students and workforce is one of the best ways Congress can do just that.”

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Upton Amendment Breaks GOP Promise on Pre-Existing Condition Protections

May 3, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

Upton Amendment Does Not Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

[WASHINGTON]–A new amendment from Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) was announced today. Rep. Upton’s amendment would add a measly $8 billion to an already insufficient $130 billion fund to absorb higher costs people with pre-existing conditions would pay under the American Health Care Act. Young Invincibles’ Executive Director Jen Mishory issued the following statement on the new amendment:

“Congressman Upton’s amendment does nothing to fix a terrible bill that will make young adult uninsurance rates skyrocket, guts benefits, and increases out of pocket costs. This bill breaks Republicans’ fundamental promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions. It’s bad for young people and bad for the country.”


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13 Things the Trump Administration Has Done for Young People in Its First 100 Days

By: Colin Seeberger

President Trump ran for office promising to make health care better and more affordable, college debt less of a burden, and help more people find jobs. But the President’s first 100 days in office have done little to set Millennials on a path to prosperity and outright threatened their well-being. This is just a snapshot of how some of the Trump Administration’s actions during its first 100 days will impact our generation’s financial security.

On Health Care:
1) Supported the American Health Care Act that would cause the young adult uninsurance rate to nearly double. (Source)
2) Empowered states to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides care to millions of young people every year, by denying them access to Title X funding. (Source)
3) Threatened to withhold financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income individuals. (Source)
4) Supported eliminating coverage benefits for common health needs like maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and more. (Source)
5) Backed a Millennial Penalty that would allow insurance companies to charge as many as 1 in 3 young adults 30 percent more for their health insurance if they experience a lapse in coverage for 63 days. (Source)
6) Released a rule that will make it harder to get and stay covered — by limiting the length of Open Enrollment, making it harder to verify Special Enrollment eligibility, lessening the actuarial value of health plans (which could lead to less financial assistance for Marketplace shoppers), and requiring enrollees to payback any premium debt before renewing enrollment eligibility. (Source)

On Higher Education:
7) Proposed $5.2 billion in cuts to the Pell Grant program, which helps low- and middle-income college students pay for college, for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. (Source)
8) Overturned protections for student loan borrowers, exposing distressed borrowers to fees as high as 16 percent of their loan balance. (Source)
9) Instructed the Department of Education to loosen rules on vetting companies who collect federal student loan payments, despite the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau findings that many of these companies are taking advantage of borrowers. (Source)
10) Proposed eliminating $732 million cut to the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which would eliminate awards for 1.5 million students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. The Administration also proposed making “significant cuts” to the Federal Work Study program, which provides nearly 700,000 students financial help in exchange for working their way through college. (Source)
11) Proposed major cuts to TRIO and GEAR UP, which help nearly 800,000 low-income students navigate the college selection process, stay enrolled, and complete their degrees. (Source)

On Workforce & Finances:
12) Proposed eliminating Job Corps centers that provide career training for low-income 16- to 24-year-olds. (Source)
13) Proposed gutting funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s job training and employment support services. (Source)

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How Dream Jobs Are Made in Apprenticeships

On September 1, 2009 I began a journey that would transform my life forever.  As I rode the F train on that sunny morning in New York City, with my brand-new tool bag tucked between a brand new pair of Red Wing work boots, I reflected on what had led me to that moment in time.

As kids, we fantasize about what we want to be when we grow up. At one point or another we may want to be professional athletes, entertainers, or several other professions that require unbelievable amounts of talent or privilege that we may or may not possess. Later, in school, we are taught about the importance of college and the many career options that higher education will bring you.  We learn about schools like Harvard, Yale, Howard University and Morgan State, but we don’t necessarily learn about other successful paths to high-earning careers, like apprenticeship programs and the opportunity to learn a trade as part of a union.  We learn about great careers in medicine, law, finance, and education, but we don’t learn about being union electricians, steamfitters, or carpenters – they don’t tell us about all the other ways to be successful in our diverse workforce.  I remember feeling that the only way to unlock my potential was to attend a well-known college and seek out a job in one of these highly sought after careers.  Society had encouraged me to think that a traditional college experience was the only way to succeed.

That’s why it was a huge step to find the alternative to everything I was taught. As I sat on the train traveling to my first day of an apprenticeship, I was nervous but excited. It wasn’t the traditional path, so I wasn’t sure what success would look like, but given the staggeringly high youth unemployment in our state, I was determined. In New York, 15 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds (a group that I fall into) are unemployed, and it isn’t because of a lack of motivation or interest in success. It’s due to a lack of resources and opportunities that offer living wages while teaching a marketable skill.  I had no prior experience, but like many young people in my city, I was willing to learn.

I was immediately welcomed into the electrical world by a room full of skilled professionals, called journeymen in our trade, ready to teach me and excited to see a fresh apprentice entering the business. I learned quickly that this was a real solution to my own and my community’s problem with unemployment and underemployment. Throughout my apprenticeship, I was taught by the men and women of our labor union, called the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3, with professionalism, patience, skill, and an occasional prank, which equals love in this line of work.  Over the next five and a half years I learned to become a Local 3 journeyman and now it has become my turn to help guide the careers of apprentices that may have had the same apprehension I had coming into a union trade.

No matter where in the country I decide to live, I have confidently learned a skill that is useful and in demand. I have the opportunity to work throughout the United States and other countries. I earn a great living doing what I love, beside workers who have become my second family. I have seen my peers, who I call brothers and sisters in the union take initiative and grow within the structure of our organization to become foremen, project managers, superintendents, and shop stewards. These careers have offered enough economic stability for some of my brothers and sisters to begin businesses of their own, both within the electrical industry and supporting other interests.  The question I always ask myself is, “why aren’t opportunities for apprenticeships in trade unions or other careers in the labor movement discussed more in schools and underserved communities?”

I wish I realized the power apprenticeships have to enhance the economic circumstances for an individual when I was working with New York City youth prior to entering Local 3. A lot of my brothers and sisters from the union come from underserved communities where resources were limited and the people who tried to make a difference were just as limited. A paid apprenticeship is a credential recognized by the industry that provides on-the-job-training while typically providing health insurance and a retirement plan. I experience consistent raises based off my completion of work and class hours. A person is offered this opportunity to succeed without any bias of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Along with all of this, Local 3 is unique in the sense that they enroll all their apprentices in the Harry Van Arsdale School of Labor Studies at SUNY Empire State College, so we receive an Associate’s Degree in Labor Relations.  Upon the completion of apprenticeship programs, an apprentice becomes a skilled journeyperson with the ability to perform the tasks of their trade and a college degree.

Young people from underserved communities are already at a disadvantage. We’re facing crisis-level unemployment and we need a range of solutions. My apprenticeship changed my life, and New York’s lawmakers need to invest in this option as a solution. When young people are not informed of the opportunities to join union trades and enter apprenticeship programs, they are being stripped of that career option that could be life-changing for themselves and their families.  I hope to see more young people from these communities with their brand-new tool bags, tucked between their brand-new Red Wings riding the subway excited, knowing they are getting ready to embark on a journey that will completely change their life.

Kenny Cohen is a Journeyman with IBEW Local 3.

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Up to One in Three Young Adults Could Get Hit by AHCA Continuous Coverage Penalty


March 15, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

New Analysis Finds Up to One in Three Young Adults Could Get Hit by Continuous Coverage Penalty

Young Adults are About 70 Percent More Likely to Trigger Penalty Than Older Adults Under 65

[WASHINGTON]–On the heels of the release of the American Health Care Act, Young Invincibles released a new analysis on one of the bill’s most controversial provisions, the continuous coverage requirement that penalizes individuals who experience a gap in coverage exceeding 63 days. This new analysis finds that the requirement, or Millennial Penalty, would disproportionately burden young adults, ultimately spoiling the risk pool and inflating premiums for everyone.

Jen Mishory, executive director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement on the new analysis:

“The Millennial Penalty works directly against any stated attempts to bring down costs and increase coverage by punishing primarily young consumers for brief, common lapses in coverage. As many as one-third of young adults experience gaps in coverage over the course of the year. Cutting Medicaid and subsidies for low-income consumers already reduces coverage options for young people; the Millennial Penalty, or continuous coverage penalty, would cut young adult coverage further, while hiking up prices by discouraging the healthiest consumers from enrolling.”

Key findings in the new analysis include:

  • As many as one-third of young consumers experience a gap in coverage over the course of a year, which could force them to pay higher premiums because of the 30 percent surcharge.
  • Young adults, are about 70 percent more likely to face the surcharge than older generations
  • The surcharge will make healthy consumers – especially cost-sensitive young adults – far less likely to enroll, ultimately harming the risk pool and increasing premiums.

Click here to read the full analysis.

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New House Document Is No Plan to Protect Millennials’ Health Care


February 17, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

New House Document Threatens Millennials’ Health Care, Would End Medicaid As We Know It

[WASHINGTON]–On Thursday, House Republicans released a document that makes clear that they have no plan to protect Millennials’ health care and would trample on the progress young adults have made under the Affordable Care Act. YI’s Executive Director Jen Mishory released the following statement on the paper:

“Studies have shown that proposals similar to the House Republican release would strip young adults of their coverage and increase costs for young people currently eligible for premium tax credits. The House document, certainly not an actual plan, would also provide significant tax cuts to the rich while ending Medicaid as we know it — cutting coverage and benefits for the most vulnerable in our society, including pregnant women, people with disabilities, and low-income workers. It could also allow discrimination against up to 30 million young adults with a pre-existing condition. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 8 million young adults have gained coverage. Under House Republicans’ framework, costs will rise, the number of uninsured will climb, and protections against insurers’ worst abuses will be stripped away. That’s bad for young people’s health.”


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Cassidy-Collins Bill Would Cut Millennials’ Coverage Access & Quality, Not Improve It


January 24, 2017

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

[WASHINGTON]–Yesterday, Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, a plan that would threaten young adults’ access to health care coverage and benefits. Young Invincibles’ Executive Director, Jen Mishory, released the following statement in response to the proposal:

“Last week, Young Invincibles and 53 other organizations called on Congress to ensure that young adults have equal or improved access to high-quality, affordable health coverage under any potential plan to replace the ACA. While Senators Cassidy and Collins’ plan would allow young people to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26, a popular and important provision of the ACA, their plan misses the mark on providing quality and affordable coverage for young people broadly. Under the Cassidy-Collins plan, financial assistance would fall, states could rely on high-deductible health plans with skimpier benefits, or states could simply eliminate coverage options for millions. The plan also lets states dump provisions of the ACA that limit insurance company profits, providing insurers a windfall at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Congress should take action to improve health care, but cutting coverage access and quality in states that opt to leave Obamacare would threaten Millennials’ financial health, not improve it.”


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Advocates Call on Congress to Prioritize Young Adults’ Health Gains

On Friday, January 20, 2017, Young Invincibles, joined by 53 other organizations committed to young adults’ health and financial well-being, sent a letter to Congressional leadership asking that any legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act be accompanied by a detailed replacement plan that maintains or improves access to quality, affordable health care for young adults.

Since passage of the ACA, more than 8 million young adults ages 18 to 34 have gained coverage, and millions more are benefiting from greater consumer protections. As one of the nation’s most historically uninsured groups, members of Congress should prioritize these gains as they weigh making changes to our health care system.

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5 Reasons #PriceIsWrong for Millennials’ Health

By Colin Seeberger


Rep. Tom Price’s history as a member of Congress raises alarming flags about the policies he might champion as Secretary of Health & Human Services. He needs to answer for this record. Here’s a quick rundown of how a Secretary Price could significantly undermine Millennials’ health.

1. Price would significantly cut young people’s access to coverage.

In the last Congress, Rep. Price authored a bill called Empowering Patients, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or the essential means by which 8 million young adults have gained health care coverage, including 2.3 million young people who have been able to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26 (dependent coverage provision); 3.8 million through Medicaid expansion; and millions more through federal and state health insurance marketplaces. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause 18 million to lose their insurance and premiums to increase up to 25 percent next year. A Kaiser analysis of Rep. Price’s Empowering Patients legislation, his bill would would repeal the ACA’s dependent coverage provision and eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion without a replacement to provide low-income enrollees coverage, much less coverage with comparable benefits.

2. Price doesn’t understand young women’s health needs.

Speaking at 2012 CPAC conference, when asked by a reporter about what women who have struggled to afford birth control should do if the ACA’s birth control mandate was undone, Rep. Price said: “Bring me one woman who’s [been unable to afford birth control]… There’s not one.” According to a 2010 Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey, 55 percent of women ages 18 to 34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control. It’s worth noting, Rep. Price has consistently voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

3. Price would give huge tax cuts to billionaires and cut financial help for low- and middle-income young adults.

Rep. Price’s health care bill would cut premium tax credits to low- and middle-income people and redirect that support, and in smaller levels, to individuals based on age. That means that young people, who have less work experience and thus typically lower wages, would see their access to financial assistance that helps them afford coverage slashed. Young adults are already earning $10,000 less than young adults a generation ago, so restructuring the financial help how Rep. Price suggests would only further stunt Millennial’s economic vitality. Furthermore, Rep. Price’s bill would provide 2.5 times more financial assistance to purchase coverage for middle-aged people, regardless of their wealth or health status, as it would to young workers making the minimum wage. In other words, Price would give a tax credit that is 2.5 times larger to the CEO of Goldman Sachs than he would to a recent college graduate working full-time at the GAP.

4. Price would push young people into policies that don’t meet their needs.

Price’s bill would eliminate the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits that currently ensure all Qualified Health Plans include maternity and mental health coverage. Prior to the ACA, just 12 percent of policies sold on the individual insurance market included maternity coverage as a benefit, despite the fact that the average, uncomplicated pregnancy could, on average, set a consumer paying out of pocket back $18,000. Additionally, mental health and trauma-related disorders are the top two conditions for which young adults receive health care, and 7.6 million young adults receive care for mental health conditions annually.

5. Price would expose 30 million young adults with pre-existing conditions to being denied or charged more for coverage.

Kaiser’s analysis also notes that Price’s bill would repeal the ACA’s prohibition on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, people with pre-existing conditions could be guaranteed coverage only if they are already insured or if they withstand an 18 month waiting period. In other words, say that you are working at a job and have a one week lapse in employment and health coverage, under Rep. Price’s bill, insurance companies would be allowed to deny you coverage for up to 18 months due to the one week lapse in coverage.

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September Jobs: Millennials Got a Raise Last Year (but still make less than they did before the recession)

By Tom Allison

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly jobs report for September. The unemployment rate for young adults aged 18-to-34 stayed flat at 6.7 percent (seasonably adjusted).  The rate remains above the national average of 5.0 percent.

Below are the race and ethnicity breakouts for young adults (not seasonably adjusted):

  • African American: 11.1 percent
  • Latino: 7.4 percent
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 5.0 percent

We’ve covered the slow but steady recovery for young adults in the job market in previous posts. Don’t forget that in June 2013, young adult unemployment was at 10.4 percent, with 2.9 million fewer young adults working today. Looking even further back to the depths of the recession in September 2009, young adult unemployment was at 13.0 percent. 

But for these young adults who are working now, how much are they earning from those new jobs? New Census data released last month showed real (adjusted for inflation)  median income rising for the first time since 2007. We crunched the numbers for young adults and saw similar trends. Real median earnings for workers aged 18-to-24 rose $1,000 to $14,000, while 25-to-34 year-olds’ earnings rose $2,000 to $35,000.

So young adults got a raise last year. That’s good. Only problem is, after adjusting for inflation, young adults are still earning less than they did before the recession in 2007. And these declines are steeper for them than for older workers. As the table shows below, our youngest workers make 6 percent less than they did in 2007. This compares to only a 1 percent decline for workers 35 and older. Fortunately 25-to-34 year olds median income rose 2 percent during this time.

Median Earnings Since Recession (2007 to 2015)
Age 2007 2015 % Change
18-24 $ 14,820 $ 14,000 -6%
25-34 $ 34,200 $ 35,000 2%
35+ $ 43,320 $ 43,000 -1%
Young Invincibles Current Population Survey, adjusted to 2015 dollars

Young Invincibles will release new research exploring the implications of these income declines, with a close look at education attainment, student debt, and demographic equity. Beyond income, we’ll also look at wider indicators of financial security, like home ownership, saving for retirement, and asset accumulation. Stay tuned.


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