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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 15, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 17, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 24, 2017

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 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

Price

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.

sept

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Apprenticeships Make Pathways from Employment Dead Ends

As Labor Day approaches, Young Invincibles wants to elevate the voices of the youngest generation in the workforce. Since the Great Recession, unemployment has steadily fallen, but young people have several hurdles to leap–18-24-year-olds still experience unemployment at the highest rates. For many graduates, this results from the experience paradox, lacking enough work experience coming out of college to start a fulfilling career. Young Invincibles’ apprenticeship research tracks the problem and provides its solutions: apprenticeships that help students gain experience, build skills, and receive the compensation unpaid internships don’t afford. Apprenticeships help untap new talent, and make our labor force even stronger, but too few program slots exist and too many graduates lack knowledge about them.

This blog provides insight into apprenticeships and how the program can truly benefit young adults.

Many of my peers don’t want to go to college. That isn’t for a lack of interest; they simply don’t have the financial resources to finish  school, and they see the employment dead end ahead. Even if they pick up a job (or two) to afford tuition, room and board, all their textbooks, and maintain a high GPA, the chances of finding a good-paying job after graduation aren’t very high. They’ll hear the same mantra after each failed interview: “You don’t have enough experience.” Again, it isn’t for a lack of interest in their field of study. It’s because “experience” is usually gained through unpaid internships, and work without pay isn’t a luxury many of my peers can afford. That’s why I was excited to learn how Young Invincibles advocated for more pathways for students when I joined their Chicago team last year.

Young Invincible’s showed me that paid apprenticeships are a route young people can take to build experience in their career or craft while simultaneously attending school. Many students today don’t have the experience to immediately join the workforce, after high school or university; therefore, many end up being unemployed or in a low paying position. In fact, young people aged between 18 and 24 experience unemployment at double the rate of all ages nationally. Businesses that host these apprenticeship programs help students financially by paying for their school, and providing a minimum wage salary and skills through mentorship.

I interviewed a student apprentice from my high school, who showed me how his electrician program helped him become a better student with an improving work ethic and gave him the  determination to improve his future. Another apprenticeship program in Wisconsin, offers two state programs: one targeting  high school students and one for high school graduates. From all the stories that were shared, the one that stood out to me the most touch on several familiar issues–struggling with poor grades, a lack of supportive outlets, which led to constant trouble in school.   The apprentice told us how no one believed in him until someone recommended him to become part of the apprentice program. After months of training, the program helped him get his act together. He was becoming more involved in school and in his grades.

This is something I would like to see in Chicago, particularly focused on young adults of color since many of  unemployed students come from minority communities . In Illinois alone, young African Americans and Hispanics almost double and triple the unemployment rate, respectively, of their white peers.  If we had more barrier-breaking programs like this, students would see better chances of finishing school, finding a job that leads to a financially secure career, ultimately building the next generation’s economic success. I urge Congress to support national programs through the Leveraging and Energizing America’ Apprenticeships Programs (LEAP) and the Promoting Apprenticeship for Credentials and Employment  (PACE) Acts, which incentivize employers and higher education institutions respectively to create apprenticeship programs.  School may be important, but not all students have the money and time to work for free and be a student. Apprenticeships will give them the opportunity to work, study, and build pathways to meet their career goals.

Maria Reyes is a youth leader and freshman at Loyola University.

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New Report Finds Connection Between Student Debt & Shrinking Levels of Young Adult Entrepreneurship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2016

Contact: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org, 301-717-9006

New Report Finds Connection Between Student Debt & Shrinking Levels of Young Adult Entrepreneurship

Young entrepreneurs are far more likely than their peers to earn incomes at the extremes

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Young Invincibles, the nation’s leading research and advocacy non-profit focused on economic opportunity for young adults, today released a new issue brief, At the Extremes: Student Debt and Entrepreneurship. The reportuses Department of Education survey data to examine the potential effects of student debt on entrepreneurship among young adults with college degrees.

While the analysis does not demonstrate causality, it does show higher student debt corresponding with lower levels of entrepreneurship. This trend reverses for borrowers with the highest debt loads, suggesting the relationship is more complicated than previously thought. YI’s analysis also revealed that college-educated young entrepreneurs with student debt are more likely to come from opposite ends of the income spectrum, and generally less likely to come from middle-income backgrounds. The data has broad potential implications for economic growth and job creation.

“We know that a majority of Millennials currently own or are interested in owning a business, yet we’ve seen them shrink from the largest cohort of new entrepreneurs to the smallest over the last two decades. That should be cause for concern as our nation’s small business create the majority of new jobs in our economy,” said Tom Allison, deputy director of policy and research at Young Invincibles and co-researcher on the report. “Student debt has now reached 1.3 trillion dollars nationally, and our latest analysis found that higher student loan debt generally corresponds with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship.”

“We found in our analysis that more than half of young entrepreneurs are women, a quarter are people of color and more than a quarter are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, debunking a number of myths about young adult entrepreneurship today. While we found some connection between lower rates of entrepreneurship among young adults from middle-income families, we need more student-focused data tracking to truly understand the impact of student debt,” added Laura Checovich, policy fellow at Young Invincibles and co-research on the report.

During a briefing on the results at Young Invincibles’ national headquarters in Washington, attendees also heard from two young entrepreneurs who shared their stories and talked about the role student debt has played in their entrepreneurship journey.

Rahama Wright is founder ofShea Yeleen, a social enterprise empowering women in Northern Ghana through the sale of shea butter beauty products distributed across the world offered, “I know a lot of people struggle with student debt. I avoided that for the most part by attending a less-costly state school back home. Even so, I took risks to build my company. I deferred the loans I did have for about a year so I could take the money I saved, leave my job and pursue a path to social entrepreneurship.”

Trevor Witt of Kansas, president and founder of Witt Tech LLC, a FAA-approved company providing quality aerial photography to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, joined the event by phone.“I developed my aerial photography company while pursuing a degree in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) at Kansas State University. It has been an incredible environment to nurture my desire to be an entrepreneur,” said Witt. “My wife and I are expecting our first child, and I’m excited to continue to build Witt Tech, LLC and watch it grow. While I am taking on some student debt now to complete my certifications, I view it as an investment in my business and in my family’s future.”

Some additional key findings in the report include:

Young entrepreneurs are somewhat more diverse than the Silicon Valley myth of young, white men with technology start-ups suggests.

  • Most new entrepreneurs are older than 35, and among young entrepreneurs more than half are women and more than a quarter are people of color.
  • At least 45 percent of new businesses don’t have a website and more young entrepreneurs work as artists or personal care professions than in technology.  
  • Young entrepreneurs are less likely to come from middle income families than from families with high or low incomes.  

Student loan debt corresponds with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship (except, paradoxically, at the highest levels of debt, where the trend reverses.)

  • Young entrepreneurs are slightly less likely to borrow student loans than their peers, but debt loads are more likely to borrow at the extremes.
  • Just over 68 percent of young entrepreneurs took out student loans compared to more than 72 percent of traditionally employed young adults.  
  • When young entrepreneurs take out student loans, they are most likely to borrow less than $17,000 but also more likely to borrow more than $59,050.

Nearly half of young entrepreneurs feel that student debt impacted their employment plans in some way.

  • Young entrepreneurs reported taking less desirable jobs and/or taking a job outside their field due to their debt.  
  • Over 46 percent of young entrepreneurs reported that student loan debt caused high or very high levels of stress.
  • Nearly 25 percent of self-employed young adults reported not being able to meet their essential expenses each month.
  • Nearly 16 percent had at least part of their student loans paid for by their family or friends at higher rates than non-entrepreneurs.

Young entrepreneurs are far more likely than their peers to earn incomes at the extremes.  

  • Young entrepreneurs are more than three times as likely to have annual incomes below $16,000 than their peers and are more likely than their traditionally employed peers to earn more than $76,000.  

Looking ahead, the report calls for the development of a dataset that can help more clearly define the relationship between student debt and entrepreneurship. Currently, a lack of student data hinders understanding of the diverse experiences of young entrepreneurs, the potential long-term effects of student debt on entrepreneurship, and its impact on job creation. Further, understanding whether or not potential entrepreneurs are able to plan their borrowing accordingly will also help policymakers create better policies to support aspiring young entrepreneurs with student debt.

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UPDATED -MEDIA ADVISORY: Young Invincibles to Unveil New Analysis of Student Debt and Entrepreneurship

NOTE: Please note that the conference call number for the audio of the presentation has changed to  515 – 604-9000 Access Code: 265491. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2016

CONTACT:

Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org, 301-717-9006

 

MEDIA ADVISORY: Young Invincibles to Unveil New Analysis of Student Debt and Entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Next week Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. ET, Young Invincibles, the nation’s leading research and advocacy non-profit dedicated to economic opportunity and security for young adults, will host a briefing detailing findings in a new report, called At the Extremes: Student Debt & Entrepreneurship. The report profiles college-educated entrepreneurs by socio-economic background, race and ethnicity, post-college earnings, and student debt. Leveraging untapped Dept. of Education survey data, the report explores the potential influence of student debt on young entrepreneurs.

A majority (51 percent) of Millennials currently own or are interested in owning a business, and yet, over the past two decades,  young adults have fallen from the largest cohort of new entrepreneurs, to the smallest. With our nation’s student debt at a record high of 1.3 trillion dollars, the report finds that higher student loan debt corresponds with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship. This trend reverses for borrowers with the highest debt loads, suggesting the relationship is more complicated than previously thought.The briefing will occur at the Young Invincible offices, in which the author will walk through the findings, answer questions and share the first copies of the report.

Attendees, and those viewing remotely, will also have the opportunity to hear from two young entrepreneurs who will share their entrepreneurial stories and the role student debt has or hasn’t played along the way. Rahama Wright will attend the event in person. She is founder of Shea Yeleen, a social enterprise empowering women in Northern Ghana through the sale of shea butter beauty products distributed across the world. Joining the event by phone will be Trevor Witt of Kansas, founder of Witt Tech LLC, a FAA-approved company providing quality aerial photography to meet the needs of individuals and businesses.

NOTE: Media can attend the event in person at Young Invincibles’ offices. If interested, please contact Nina Smith at Nina.Smith@younginvincibles.org. Media can also view the briefing via livestream on YI’s webinar portal linked here: http://bit.ly/2bZkQhB NOTE: Please note that the conference call number for the audio of the presentation has changed to  515-604-9000 Access Code: 265491. 

WHO: Young Invincibles

WHAT: Briefing on findings from new report At the Extremes: Student Debt & Entrepreneurship, provide characteristics of modern day entrepreneurship and the impact of student debt on the self-employed.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 9:30 a.m. ET

WEBINAR Link: http://bit.ly/2bZkQhB

DIAL-IN (PLEASE NOTE NUMBER CHANGE):  515 – 604-9000 Access Code: 265491. 




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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (August 24, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (August 24, 2016)

With students headed back to school, keep an eye out for candidates on campuses across the country. Is a candidate your school? Drop me a note at colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org and let me know. We’re just over a month away from the first presidential debate and 76 days away from Election Day. For those of you able to take it, enjoy the upcoming Labor Day holiday!

JOHNSON BLAMES ACCESS TO LOANS FOR HIGH TUITION, SUGGESTS CAPPING INTEREST RATES: In a Libertarian Party forum hosted by Fusion, presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate William Weld discussed “issues affecting the rising American mainstream” including higher education. Governor Johnson said: “The government should not be involved in student loans… and that’s the reason for the high cost of college tuition. I think if government would have never gotten involved, tuition would be half of what it is… I do think students have been sold a bill of goods… If we can bail out Wall Street, I think we would be open to legislation that might cap those interest rates because students have been sold a bill of goods.” Watch the full forum here. (Higher ed section begins at 17:32)

WELD CALLS FOR CUTTING COSTS THROUGH EXPANDING ONLINE LEARNING, 3-YEAR PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS: Governor Weld added: “I think we have to change the delivery system for higher ed. I think the four-year bricks and mortar system is the most expensive possible delivery system… Many more of the courses could be offered via distance learning online education, which is a fraction of the cost. And many, many studies have showed that people who learn online, remotely that is,… retain the subject matter better… Both for the government and for private enterprises, we want to make sure that programs are available so students can intern during college, not have the debt when they graduate, and have a job waiting. Or if it’s a question of a contract with the government, they could have their student debt forgiven in exchange for agreeing to go into public service for say three years.”

NPR COVERS CLINTON’S MILLENNIAL OUTREACH: “The Clinton campaign is trying to reach all corners of this generation with a strategy that includes both college and noncollege voters. “Ninety percent of babies that were born last year were born to millennials,” said Sarah Audelo, the campaign’s millennial vote director. “A lot of what we’re doing is thinking about how we’re going to reach millennial parents … looking at issues like child care.” Clinton also recently penned an essay in Teen Vogue, made a pitch to a millennial-owned business in Iowa, and praised apprenticeships in Nevada. Her campaign is flooding college campuses with organizers and volunteers.” (All Things Considered, 8/22/2016)

CFPB HITS WELLS FARGO W/ $4 MILLION FINE FOR STUDENT DEBT MISDEEDS: “Thousands of student-loan borrowers will receive refunds from Wells Fargo after the government hit the bank with $4 million in penalties for charging illegal fees, misrepresenting payments and failing to update inaccurate credit report information. On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Wells Fargo illegally charged late fees to consumers who made payments on the last day of their grace periods, as well as those who elected to pay through partial payments. The government agency said the bank also failed to update and correct inaccurate, negative information provided to credit-reporting companies about borrowers who made partial or extra payments.” (Washington Post, August 22, 2016)

STUDENT DEBT RELIEF COMPANIES’ EXPLOITATION OF BORROWERS REMAINS A PROBLEM: “Desperate borrowers go to websites claiming loan “forgiveness” and often get charged for free government services. It’s clearly a swindle, but federal regulators have been slow to shut it down. When I started looking at these firms more than two years ago, I noticed that they would always pop up first in online searches for student loans. But none of them were legitimate government sites run by the U.S. Department of Education, which can help you consolidate or change loan repayment plans for free. While the FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other state attorneys general have attempted to shut down the most egregious players in this industry one at a time, there has been a void where strong regulation should be. Broad enforcement is sorely lacking while the CFPB continues to probe these exploitative practices. The larger question is: If the government provides free services to cut your loan repayment bill, why aren’t millions of borrowers getting that message?” (CBS News, August 22, 2016)

SENATE SPECIAL

OHIO–PORTMAN ENGAGES STUDENTS WITH CAMPAIGN SNAPCHAT FILTERS: “The Portman for Senate Campaign announced it purchased over 30 Snapchat Geofilters across Ohio to blanket college campuses as students return to classes for the start of the fall semester. In addition, Snapchat users at The Ohio State University were able to show support for Rob during move-in day in one filter and in another filter students were encouraged to join the campaign as interns during an activity fair. In total, the campaign targeted over 30 different colleges and universities with individual filters specific to the school, with more to come. Images of the some of the filters are below. Users can snap a picture and place the filters on top of their photos.” (Rob Portman for Senate, August 23, 2016)

NORTH CAROLINA–ROSS CALLS FOR INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AND INVESTING IN HIGHER ED: Last week, North Carolina Senate Candidate Deborah Ross spoke with Laura Leslie of WRAL about expanding the Pell Grant program and the importance of investing in education. Ross also said that to increase transparency, legislators must “bring universities to the table.” (WRAL, August 21, 2016)

WISCONSIN–JOHNSON CALLS FOR EXPANSION OF COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION: “U.S. Senator Ron Johnson…used an appearance [last week] to say the “higher education cartel” is raising prices and preventing reforms that would help college students learn at affordable prices. He criticized accreditors and tenured professors for blocking reforms. He said that he favored “certification,” in which people could demonstrate competency or skills in certain areas through testing rather than earning degrees. Johnson also said the education system could become much more affordable by changing the role of instruction. “We’ve got the internet — you have so much information available. Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online and have everybody available to that knowledge for a whole lot cheaper? But that doesn’t play very well to tenured professors in the higher education cartel. So again, we need disruptive technology for our higher education system,” he said. Johnson added, “One of the examples I always used — if you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better off having, I don’t know, tens of thousands of history teachers that kind of know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns’s Civil War tape and then have those teachers proctor based on that excellent video production already done? You keep duplicating that over all these different subject areas.”” (Inside Higher Ed, August 22, 2016)

WISCONSIN–FEINGOLD SAYS STATES, UNIVERSITIES, FED GOVT, AND FAMILIES WHO CAN AFFORD TO PAY SHOULD SUBSIDIZE TUITION: “Democratic Senate candidate Russ Feingold …talked about college affordability early Monday morning. Feingold… told reporters… “I consider the issue of student loans and student debt to be one of the most important issues in the presidential race and in our race,” Feingold said. He said to help solve college affordability problems, there needs to be legislation like the bill  U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sponsored, which would allow students to refinance their student loans… Feingold said he would like to see a new program created that could prevent students from paying huge amounts of tuition. He said funding would need to be from the state, universities, federal government and families who can afford to pay.” (The Badger Herald, August 16, 2016)

NEW HAMPSHIRE–AYOTTE HIGHLIGHTS SUPPORT FOR COLLEGE SAVINGS EFFORTS: In a new campaign ad, Sen. Ayotte says she has worked to make it easier for students to save for college. Watch the ad here.

PENNSYLVANIA–MCGINTY PENS OP-ED DETAILING HIGHER ED PLANS: “Students and families today are faced with…truly out-of-this-world college costs. The impact: College is simply beyond reach for many young people. Let’s enable more young people to obtain the skills needed to succeed by passing President Barack Obama’s proposal to make the first two years of community college free for hardworking students. And in the Senate, I will lead the fight to restore funding to job training and apprenticeship programs, and sign on to proposals that offer tax credits and other incentives to employers who invest in their workers. For those who do choose to pursue a four-year degree, I’ll push to put a lid on the cost of college. Let’s insist schools keep tuition costs down, and then link federal support directly to schools’ success in controlling costs. I am proud to support Secretary Clinton’s initiative to make public universities debt free for families with incomes up to $125,000 by 2021. Let’s expand — and make permanent — the American opportunity tax credit so that middle-class families get a tax break for college. And let’s stand strong for the Pell Grant program. Nearly 300,000 Pennsylvanians depend on Pell Grants and I’ll fight for those families. Finally, have you seen where interest rates are? They are at historic lows. Let’s back Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to enable families to take advantage of those rates and refinance.” (Centre Daily Times, August 16, 2016)
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