Latest CBO Score Confirms What We Already Know: AHCA Hurts Young Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 24, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

Latest CBO Score Confirms What We Already Know: AHCA Hurts Young Americans

Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the AHCA will result in fewer people insured, market instability, and higher out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans. The nonpartisan analysis from the CBO estimates that the AHCA would cause 23 million more Americans to lose health care coverage by 2026, including an estimated 6 million young adults.

This new analysis of the latest version of the House-passed bill confirms the catastrophic impact that the AHCA would have on young adults. Next year alone, 14 million more Americans would be uninsured. The newest changes would allow states to waive key consumer protections, paving the way for fewer benefits, higher out-of-pocket costs, and potentially millions of consumers with preexisting conditions becoming uninsured.

An estimated 31 million young adults have a preexisting condition and would be left vulnerable to much higher premiums or no insurance at all. The CBO anticipates that the MacArthur Amendment alone will result in significant market instability: in states that pursue a “MacArthur waiver,” individuals with preexisting conditions could face exorbitant premiums and out-of-pocket costs and would ultimately be uninsured. In addition, out-of-pocket spending for key services for young adults, such as maternity coverage, mental health care, and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars per year — leaving financially-strapped young people with crippling medical debt.

The latest version of the House bill did nothing to alleviate the devastating cuts to Medicaid; the bill ends Medicaid expansion, leading to millions of the most vulnerable Americans losing coverage. It also fundamentally undermines the traditional Medicaid program leaving millions of children, older Americans, and people with disabilities with no viable health care options, while shifting billions of dollars to states.

Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement in response to today’s newest CBO analysis:

“Three weeks ago, House Republicans rammed the AHCA through the House of Representatives without the benefit of an independent cost estimate, and with little consideration for the millions of Americans they know will be hurt by their bill. Today, the CBO confirmed that the AHCA is still a cruel proposal that covers fewer people and will cost consumers more overall. In addition to stripping coverage from millions of young adults – harming in particular the most low-income young people – it give states the option to cut benefits that young people need the most, like maternity coverage and mental health services, as well as discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions. And for the lowest-income young adults, gutting Medicaid will leave millions without any care options whatsoever. The Senate must reject the AHCA and instead protect the gains young adults and all Americans have made in accessing health care through the ACA.”

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Better Data to Build Better Career Pathways

By Maggie Jo Buchanan, Southern Director

Last Friday, the Texas Legislature passed a bill (SB 1119) to bring more transparency to the state’s work-study program and help improve career pathways for participating students. As the bill makes its way to the Governor, it is important to recognize the valuable insight this bill will bring to the students who participate in the program.

In less than five years, more than 60 percent of all jobs in Texas will require some sort of post-secondary education. At the same time, employers nationwide have been forced to reduce training time for new employees and cut back on entry-level positions. Last year, to better understand the impact of this trend, Young Invincibles completed the “Young Texas Works Jobs Tour,” a series of conversations with over 250 young people across our state on their experiences completing their degrees and entering the workforce.

Throughout the tour, we heard young adults illustrate the reality of our changing economy: Many expressed their struggles balancing the hours of paid work they needed to cover their bills and tuition with the hours they needed to keep their grades on track for graduation and to remain eligible for financial aid. One student told us: “At some point [when trying to balance work in school], even in the beginning you can manage, but as you move forward in your career and your studies, it’s harder and harder to be able to keep your job.”

Many of the young people we work with, however, identify the Texas Work–Study Program as an important avenue for them to tackle this education–experience paradox. But before SB 1119, the only information the state was required to provide was a biannual report on the employers in the program—nothing on participating students.

The bill requires that the report be made annual and include:

  • Demographic information;
  • The program of study and majors;
  • Class-year designations; and
  • Enrollment as a full-time or part-time student of all participants.

This new data will help us better ensure the TWSP is helping young Texans gain career-relevant experience. By identifying how students’ programs of study and majors compare to the participating employers, for example, we will be able to identify gaps and misalignments in opportunities. And, if certain students are being underserved by the program—for example, students in certain class years or degree programs—we can help ensure targeted, appropriate outreach to those who may benefit most from work-study.

In 1979, a student working a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day to pay for one academic credit hour. Today, it would take 60 hours of minimum wage work for a student to accomplish the same. The Texas Work–Study Program is a valuable tool in helping students keep their heads above water, and by ensuring we better understand the young adults participating in the program as well as the employers doing the same, we will have a clearer picture of what our next steps should be.

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Trump Administration Budget Slashes Support for Young Adults

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 23, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

Trump Administration Budget Slashes Support for Young Adults

Today, the Trump Administration released its FY18 budget proposal, which includes severe cuts  to a number of programs millions of young people are using to build a better life for themselves, their families, and our national economy. This budget would restrict their access to health care, higher education, and valuable job training, making our generation less financially stable.

Reid Setzer, Government Affairs Director for Young Invincibles, released the following statement, as well as the following analysis on programs cut within health care, higher education, workforce training and financial security:

“This budget is grossly out of step with the needs of young people and the priorities of most members of Congress. It fails to invest in young people and the future of our country, by slashing opportunities for young adults to gain skills through education, sustain themselves and their families, and contribute to our workforce.

Most alarmingly, this budget proposes cutting $616 billion dollars from Medicaid and CHIP, on top of the $800 billion in cuts the American Health Care Act, a bill the Administration has endorsed, would make. Nearly 4 million young adults gained access to health care through Medicaid expansion. Taking away their coverage as they work toward financial security is harsh and self-defeating.

Moreover, the budget strips away supports for students and young workers, making completing and succeeding in our economy even more difficult. It cuts Pell, terminates federal funding for on-campus childcare and halves support for Federal Work Study, which gives students the opportunity to work while they attend college. We know that those students who take on debt, but are unable to complete their degrees, are often in the worst financial circumstances. This budget would put more of our generation in those dire financial circumstances, and make it harder for students to pay off their debt. The bill also underfunds job training programs and career and technical education, essential to address the middle-skill jobs gap and fully develop the next generation of American workers.

The Administration has made a clear statement that it is not serious about addressing the needs of young people, and that it is willing to recklessly drain funding from programs they use the first major opportunity it gets.”

Health Care

  • Medicaid and CHIP: This budget comes in the wake of a disastrous Congressional health care proposal that would gut Medicaid by cutting over $800 billion from the program, eliminating health care for 10 million people and leave young people dramatically worse off. This budget doubles down on that brutal approach by slashing another $616 billion from Medicaid and CHIP. For over 50 years, Medicaid has delivered care to millions of young people, as well as children, the disabled, low-income Americans, and those suffering from addiction. To see such savage cuts to this program is not only a broken campaign promise-it will lead to preventable injuries and illnesses going untreated and make America a crueler place to live, work, and raise a family.

Higher Education

  • Pell Grants: The budget would leave the Pell Grant frozen and stagnant, further eroding its purchasing power for the nearly 8 million low- and moderate-income students that rely on it. The Trump budget cuts $3.9 billion from Pell, masking that cut by couching it in positive language around the restoration of Year-Round Pell, a recent bipartisan achievement, which does not need new or separate money to operate. Cutting money from Pell imperils the stability of the program and will make it more difficult to maintain and expand eligibility and enhance the Pell Grant’s future effectiveness.
  • CCAMPIS: The budget zeroes out the $15 million CCAMPIS program, which helps low-income parents in college afford on-campus childcare. One in four students are parents, and they take on more debt and have to juggle more responsibility than other students. Young parents should be able to pursue their degree without worrying about the safety and health of their children. Eliminating funding for this program fails to support parents who are working to make a better life for their families.
  • Federal Work Study: The budget nearly halves the amount of funding for the Federal Work Study program, cutting $488 million. Work study helps students pay for the costs of tuition and attendance and gain valuable work experience while enrolled. The vast majority of employers today expect real-world experience from college graduates when they evaluate potential hires. The budget accurately identifies issues with how the current formula could be improved to better assist low-income students-but instead of discussing how the program can be improved, the Administration just slashes funding and moves on.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: The budget would end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which at least over 550,000 borrowers have signed up for and are reliant upon for loan relief, with millions more eligible. Teachers, counselors, social workers, public defenders, medical professionals and other public servants, many of whom are required to take on post-graduate debt to obtain a necessary credential for their job, are filling essential jobs in communities nationwide. Mercifully, the Administration proposes making this change only to those taking out loans on or after July 1, 2018, and will not pull the rug out from under those already enrolled. However, eliminating the program could have damaging effects to underserved rural and urban communities alike, and increase the indebtedness of our generation, to the detriment of the American economy.
  • Career and Technical Education: This budget proposal contains language signaling intent to propose legislation to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. CTE is vital for both students and employers because it teaches young people valuable, in-demand skills that employers need and provides hands-on training. However, this budget only allocates $186 million to implement its reauthorization, while the previous Administration asked for double that amount for its reauthorization proposal. Currently, House Democrats and Republicans are working together on improving access to CTE and their bipartisan bill calls for over a billion dollars of annual investment. President Trump claims his priority is strengthening our economy, but underfunding CTE weakens our current and future workforce by limiting access to marketable skills.
  • Simplifying Repayment: Shortening the window for forgiveness of undergraduate loans to 15 years may prove to be a welcome move for many young people with student debt, and simplification of the existing system is a positive step. However, the lack of detail regarding this policy proposal is concerning, and the reform plan could raise monthly payments for a large portion enrolled through requiring a higher percentage of a borrower’s income to be paid. Extending the forgiveness period to 30 years for graduate loans combined with the elimination of PSLF is a recipe for lifelong financial difficulties for many borrowers.
  • Other Programs That Enable Degree Completion: Additionally, the Trump administration’s budget dramatically cuts $193 million from TRIO and GEAR UP,  as well as eliminating the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program that goes to the neediest students in America. The budget also phases out subsidized federal loans, which help 6 million students a year who have to take out loans to get a degree pay less for college, and the Perkins loan program.

Workforce Training and Financial Security

  • WIOA: The budget cuts $1.3 billion from job training and employment service grants administered under the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which has bipartisan support as our nation’s primary job training system for people trying to develop marketable skills in the 21st century economy. The grants cover adult, youth, and dislocated workers, as well as employment service programs.
  • Limited Paid Family Leave: The budget proposes a non-comprehensive paid parental leave plan that gives less paid leave than the international average, is narrower than proposals that include non-parental caregivers, and would allow states to choose to participate or not.
  • National Service: The budget would eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which operates AmeriCorps and several other community service programs that employ over 80,000 workers a year and benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans. This elimination further limits options for young people looking to find work or serve their country.
  • Youth Job Development: The budget cuts Youth Activities from the Department of Labor budget by $394 million. Youth Activities Grants support a wide range of activities and services to prepare low-income youth for academic and employment success, including summer and year-round jobs. Investing in low-income young adults today can address widening financial disparities in the future, so cutting this program is unwise and short-sighted. However, the budget does maintain previous spending levels of $90 million on Apprenticeship Grants, which help states and industries expand apprenticeship opportunities for young people.
  • Housing: The budget eliminates the largest federal block grant dedicated to help state and localities address affordable housing needs, cutting the $948 million HOME Investment Partnerships Program, at a time young adults struggle to afford housing.

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Cost-Benefit Analysis of American Health Care Act’s Impact on Young Adults

By Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy and Research 

Despite media narratives that young adults would benefit from lower costs under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the legislation would actually cost billions for this age group. While the bill makes changes across the health insurance system, three groups of young people would be particularly impacted, totaling 17 million 18-29 year-olds:

  • Those currently buying insurance on the individual market;
  • Low-income people currently enrolled in Medicaid;
  • Currently uninsured young people making future decisions about their coverage.   

In order to analyze the AHCA’s impact on young people, we reviewed how changes to the tax structure, cuts to Medicaid and phase out of Medicaid expansion, surcharges to young adults who do not maintain continuous coverage, and an elimination of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) all negatively impact young adults trying to afford health insurance.  We found that of these 17 million young adults most directly impacted, nearly 10 million, or about 58 percent, would pay a total of at least $23 billion more for health insurance annually – or $2,400 per person (Table 1).

This number is likely an underestimate, as our analysis does not include increased costs that many young people may face due to shifts to plans with higher deductibles, changes in essential health benefits, or discriminatory premiums that may result from the MacArthur amendment.  Given that the most recent enrollment report for which we have age and metal type selections data shows that more than three in four young adults (76 percent) shopping on the federal marketplace selected health plans with actuarial values above 70 percent, the expected reductions in availability of higher quality plans likely means that even those who see lower premiums will see higher out of pocket costs, an effect not captured in our analysis.

Table 1 V3

IMPACT ON CURRENT OR POTENTIAL MARKETPLACE CONSUMERS

Part of the reason why young adults would lose under the AHCA is the way the bill structures tax credits to help people buy insurance. These tax credits replace the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which used a sliding scale based on income and cover a portion of the cost of health insurance premiums. The tax credit in the AHCA for young adults is a flat $2,000 benefit for individuals earning below $75,000, regardless of where you live or how expensive health insurance costs in your market.

This change specifically hurts low-income young adults (who on average earn lower incomes than older workers) by, in many cases, cutting tax credits to help pay for premiums as well as eliminating the cost-sharing reductions that offset out of pocket costs and deductibles.  In order to calculate how AHCA-tax credits (combined with changes in age rating) compare to existing ACA tax credits, we used CBO’s estimate of premium changes by the year 2026 at different poverty levels, the impact of age rating across this age cohort, and the CBO’s valuation of cost-sharing reductions.  We then adjusted for the declining purchasing power of AHCA tax credits using CMS premium projections, and assumed that a share of the population would be hit with the continuous coverage provision, or Millennial Penalty, based on existing research on coverage gaps for young people.

We found that low- and moderate-income young individuals would pay more under the AHCA than under current law, ultimately impacting 4.4 million young people, and harming the lowest-income young people the most.  As an example, Table 2 shows how a 27-year old earning $27,000 per year would pay $1,900 more in insurance costs for lower quality coverage under the AHCA. If that 27-year old is one of the millions of young adults who experience a lapse in coverage throughout the year, they can expect to pay $3,100 more per year in insurance costs. But a 27-year-old earning $75,000 would pay between $1,900 and $3,100 less under the AHCA, depending on whether they are hit by the continuous coverage provision.  A 27-year-old earning $95,000 would pay $700 and $2,000 less in premiums, though also see increased out-of-pocket expenses and receive a lower quality plan.

Table 2 V3

IMPACT ON CURRENT OR POTENTIAL MEDICAID ENROLLEES

About half of those negatively impacted are the 5 million young adults who would lose Medicaid coverage (Table 3). We calculate these coverage losses by assuming that the proportion of young people who lose coverage under the CBO’s analysis of Medicaid coverage losses is the same as the proportion of current Medicaid enrollees.  We then take into account the removal of coverage options for young people who are not currently enrolled in Medicaid but could have been if their state had expanded Medicaid in the future, an option that AHCA removes.

These deep coverage losses are not surprising: about 3.8 million young people have gained Medicaid coverage in the past half decade, representing one of the most important ways the ACA has impacted Millennials.

Table 3 V3

CONCLUSION

The AHCA would be a financial disaster for millions of young adults under the age of 30: nearly 10 million lower-income young adults could lose up to $23 billion. The 7 million higher-income young adults who might see lower premiums under the AHCA could save in premiums costs, but will also receive lower quality coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs. This results in an annual net loss of $11 billion for the Millennial generation.

This conservative evaluation of the law’s financial impact does not include diminished value of coverage from removing required essential benefits, increased deductibles, or unintended consequences from removing millions of people from Medicaid. Even without measuring that impact, we see that the AHCA results in skyrocketing costs for the lowest income young adults, while shifting small benefits to higher earners. There are smarter, more cost-effective methods Congress should pursue to improve young adults’ access to quality and affordable health insurance. We urge the nation’s lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and discard the fundamentally flawed AHCA.

METHODS

In their scoring of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected insurance premiums and credits for specific ages and at two different income brackets. Using the CBO’s assumptions and incorporating the effects from other changes the AHCA makes to the health insurance market, Young Invincibles conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the effects of the legislation on the cost of health insurance for young adults. In brief, we estimate the change in health insurance costs for every year of age between 18 and 29 years-old, along relevant income-to-poverty thresholds. We then used Census data to estimate the number of young adults, at each age, either eligible for Medicaid or currently on the individual market for health insurance.  Other assumptions include:

CBO estimates of premiums – Our analysis relied on CBO’s projections of an earlier version of the bill than what passed the House for insurance premiums in 2026. However, CBO does not fully adjust for increased costs stemming from healthier young people leaving the market and impacts on costs due to Medicaid disruption. We suspect this underestimates the projected premiums under the AHCA. The CBO also assumes a steeper per year increase in the price of premiums than in recent years as their current baseline. This produces a potentially inflated estimate for 2026 premium prices under current law.

Federal Poverty Levels – CBO estimated the 2026 costs for 21-year olds earning 175 percent and 450 percent of the federal poverty level under current law and the American Health Care Act. CBO estimates that in 2026 these poverty levels would reflect $26,500 and $68,200 adjusted gross income. In other words, the FPL would be $15,143. This projection reflects the 2 percent annual rate of inflation. The AHCA phases out the tax credit once individuals begin earning above $75,000. Using CBO’s projections for the FPL in 2026, we estimate $75,000 will equate to 495 percent of FPL and the tax credit will completely phase out at $95,000, or 627 percent of FPL.

Age Rating Adjustments – CBO assumes most states will employ the 5:1 age rating allowed in the AHCA to project premium costs for 2026. We applied a year-by-year age rating schedule to expected premiums along a schedule modeled by the Millman Consulting firm. This reflects CBO’s estimates that a 21-year old earning 175 percent of FPL will pay $5,100 under current law and $3,900 under the AHCA’s age rating adjustment. The AHCA allows states to adopt their own age rating, but was not considered in this analysis.

Cost Sharing Reductions – CBO acknowledges that cost-sharing reductions would amount to $1,100 for a 21-year old and $3,350 for a 64-year old (in note c in Table 4). Using these assumptions we created a year-by-year schedule of CSR values, equaling roughly $50 per year of age. In reality, individuals earning below 175 percent  FPL receive a larger CSR and individuals earning between 175 percent and 250 percent would receive a lower amount. We applied the average benefit, based on CBO’s 175 percent FPL projection, to individuals earning below 250 percent FPL, a benefit removed by the AHCA.

Medicaid Eligibility - The AHCA rolls back Medicaid expansion and also freezes Medicaid enrollment in a few years and transforms the program by capping federal funds. To estimate the number of young adults affected by this change we apply a 16 percent rate (the proportion of 18-29 year olds that make up all Medicaid enrollees according to the U.S. Census) to the 14 million total losses in Medicaid as estimated by the CBO, resulting in 2.3 million. This undercounts the impact as young adults would probably disproportionately be affected by the Medicaid cuts, particularly ones without a disability, and young adults without children. However, CBO also assumes that some new additional states would have expanded Medicaid by 2026, and their estimates of Medicaid coverage losses could come from states that haven’t actually expanded yet in our current baseline drawn from Census estimates. CBO does not specify which states they assume expand.  This opens up the possibility that there is some double-counting individuals in our estimates of those who would be Medicaid-eligible if they lived in states that expanded and those who would lose Medicaid under the AHCA.

Furthermore, eight states have adopted trigger statutes to undo Medicaid expansion coverage and/or benefits in the event the federal government reduces its state reimbursement. This could lead to hundreds of thousands of more young adults losing access to coverage or essential benefits. We then summed the 3 million remaining uninsured young adults whose incomes currently fall below 138 percent of FPL, who would benefit if all states expanded Medicaid, resulting in a total of 5.2 million.

We apply a benefit of $3,247 per Medicaid enrollee. Certainly individuals with chronic health problems or disabilities receive a much larger benefit, and individuals who lose Medicaid eligibility who then experience health problems would be exposed well beyond this $3,247 annual benefit.

Declining Value of AHCA Tax Credit – The AHCA provides tax credits for individuals earning below $75,000, varying in amount depending on age. The amount also increases starting in 2019, by the rate of inflation plus one percentage point. CBO estimates an annual rate of inflation of 2 percent until 2026, so the scheduled rate of increase for tax credits for individuals under age 29 would reach $2,460 by 2026. CBO rounded all estimates to the nearest $50 and so project the tax credit at $2,450. However, government data project premiums to grow by 4.7 percent per capita annually until 2026. Applying this rate to the $2,000 tax credit would result in $2,908, a $449 deficit from the the current projection.

Continuous Coverage Provision – The AHCA requires insurers to impose a 30 percent surcharge on individuals whose coverage lapsed for 63 days during the year. Young adults are much more likely to move, change jobs, and experience lapses in coverage. In fact, 33 percent of young adults could experience a lapse of coverage and receive the surcharge. We applied a 30 percent surcharge on 33 percent of the value of the penalty for young adults currently in the individual market. For young adults without health insurance, the full value of the penalty was applied.

Population Growth – We estimated for the number of young adults falling into different poverty levels using the U.S. Census’ Current Population Survey estimates for 2016. To estimate population growth over the next decade, we used the U.S. Census National Population Projections’ estimate of 8.0 percent growth in the U.S. population between 2016 and 2026. We applied this growth rate to our CPS estimates of young adults by FPL, and assumed proportional growth.

 

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Preliminary Trump Education Budget Threatens Millennials’ Ability to Obtain Higher Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 17, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

Today, the Washington Post reported on a preliminary version of the Trump Administration’s education budget, expected to be finalized and released next week. The budget slashes $9.2B from the Department of Education, allocating 13.6 percent less than the budget Congress approved just last month. This cut includes programs that serve millions of students by allowing them to access and complete higher education.

Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Director of Government Affairs released the below statement on the reported budget cuts:

“This proposal would place more obstacles in front of students by cutting federal financial aid, on-campus supports, and reducing opportunities to gain skills, thereby making completing a credential that much harder. The President has claimed he wants to “take steps to help students” address their student debt, but this budget would do the exact opposite.”

Pell Grants –

The reported budget would leave the maximum Pell Grant amount frozen and stagnant, further eroding its purchasing power for the nearly 8 million low- and moderate-income students that rely on it. The original Trump Administration “skinny budget” also included 3.9 billion in cuts to Pell, which further reporting indicates is still included in the full budget. While the budget contains positive language about Year-Round Pell, that program was reinstated by the recent budget deal and does not need new funding to operate. However, cutting money from Pell imperils the stability of the program and will make it harder to maintain Year-Round Pell, a bipartisan achievement.

CCAMPIS –

The reported budget zeroes out the $15 million CCAMPIS program, which helps low-income parents in college afford on-campus childcare. One in four students are parents, and they take on more debt and have to juggle more responsibility than other students. Young parents should be able to pursue their degree without worrying about the safety and health of their children. Eliminating funding for this program fails to support parents who are working to make a better life for their families.

Career and Technical Education –

The reported budget cuts career and technical education (CTE) by $168 million, down 15 percent compared to current funding. CTE is vital for both students and employers because it teaches young people valuable, in-demand skills that employers need and provides hands-on training. President Trump claims his priority is strengthening our economy, but cutting CTE weakens our current and future workforce by cutting off access to marketable skills. This proposal comes as House Democrats and Republicans are working together on improving access to CTE.

Federal Work Study –

The reported budget nearly halves the amount of funding for the Federal Work Study program, cutting $490 million. Work study helps students pay for the cost of tuition and attendance and gain valuable work experience while enrolled. The vast majority of employers today expect real-world experience from college graduates when they evaluate potential hires, and simply cutting this program walks away from a golden opportunity to discuss how it can work better for low-income students and provide more diverse employment opportunities for those enrolled.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness -

The reported budget would end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which at least over 550,000 borrowers are signed up for and reliant upon for loan relief, with millions more eligible. Teachers, counselors, social workers, public defenders, medical professionals and other public servants are filling essential jobs in communities nationwide. Eliminating the program could have damaging effects to both rural and urban communities alike, and increase the indebtedness of our generation, to the detriment of the American economy.

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Young Invincibles Expresses Support for College Transparency Act of 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 15, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

[Washington DC]- Today, a bipartisan group of US Senators introduced the College Transparency Act of 2017, a bill that would modernize our higher education data infrastructure by providing much needed outcomes information, while safeguarding student privacy and security. The bill from Senators Cassidy (R-LA), Hatch (R-UT), Warren (D-MA) and Whitehouse (D-RI) would ensure that vital metrics, including program-level graduation rates, loan repayment rates and job outcomes, are available to students. Those metrics would also be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and Pell-status, among other crucial data sets.

The bill will simultaneously protect student privacy by explicitly prohibiting collecting student health records, disciplinary history, immigration status or national origin, or religion. The bill also restricts how other federal agencies can access and use the system, and prohibits using the system to take action against an individual student. Young Invincibles is happy to support the College Transparency Act, and urges the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to take up the bill.

Young Invincibles’ Government Affairs Director Reid Setzer added, “This bill would create a secure postsecondary data system that would benefit policymakers, institutions, and most importantly, students. Currently, students and their families are left in the dark when it comes to accessing basic information on whether students attending specific schools and enrolled in specific programs succeed. For example, we don’t have a clear, complete picture of how many students in a certain program graduate, get a job in the field they studied, or if they are able to pay back their loans. This bill will enable students and families to make better informed decisions, ease the burden on colleges and universities, and give policymakers a better idea of how taxpayer dollars should be invested. The bill also takes impressive measures to protect sensitive personal information, which we know is critically important to today’s students.”

Daniel Niersbach, President of the Indiana University Student Association, expressed support for the bill: “The current student record ban doesn’t empower our youth to make the right choices for themselves when it comes to higher education. Rather, it forces them to take chances and chase assumptions, when major investments are on the line. The Indiana University Student Association is in support of the College Transparency Act of 2017 because students need and deserve more accurate, accessible, and comprehensive information regarding one of the most important decisions of their lives.”

Sammy Geisinger, Executive Director of the Association of Big 10 Students said: “When I was searching for schools, information about the outcomes of majors or programs was hard to come by. Even as an enrolled student, I’m curious about job prospects and the career path that I’ve chosen and want to know how other graduates from my school are doing in the workforce. We spend a lot of time and money on college, and this data system will help students make more informed decisions on how to plan their educations and careers.”

The bill would achieve many of the principles laid out in the Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform, a collection of student asks signed on by organizations representing over one million students.  We enthusiastically endorse these provisions for their role in protecting student privacy.

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House Republicans Vote to Endanger the Health of Young America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 4, 2017

Contact: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

House Republicans Vote to Endanger the Health of Young America

In response to today’s House vote to push forward the American Health Care Act, Young Invincibles released the following statement, from Executive Director, Jen Mishory:

“In voting for the American Health Care Act, Republicans in Congress voted to as much as double the young adult uninsured rate, sentence the 31 million young people who have a pre-existing condition to a lifetime of discrimination, defund Planned Parenthood, and gut Medicaid. Since passage of the ACA, more than 8 million young adults have gained coverage that has saved lives by enabling them to access free preventive care and other critical benefits. The American Health Care Act would reverse this progress. Young people, and all Americans, expect more from their representatives and deserve better than an unconscionable bill that would destroy lives.”

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FY17 Budget Deal A Mixed Bag For Millennials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 2, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

Yesterday, Republican and Democratic leadership released a final budget deal to fund the federal government for the rest of the 2017 Fiscal Year, and final deal included both wins and losses for young people. The deal restored of Year-Round Pell for the 2017-2018 school year, which is a win for students, allowing as many as one million students to access their need-based financial aid in the summer and accelerating their time to completion and often limiting student debt loads. The deal also contains some modest increases in funding for key higher education programs including TRIO, GEAR UP and apprenticeships.

However, the budget deal also contains problematic cuts of over $1.3B to the Pell Grant program. This cut undermines the stability of the program by limiting the program’s ability to combat possible future funding shortfalls. While some additional Pell funds will be used to improve the program through the restoration of Year-Round Pell, the $1.3B cut also serves as a disturbing precedent. Additionally, after this year, the Pell Grant award will no longer be indexed to inflation, which will lead to further reductions the purchasing power of the award.  This means it will cover ever smaller portions of ever-increasing college tuition.

On health care, the budget also fails to include language that would ensure the continuation of critical payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), referred to as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) or subsidies, that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers. Millennials make up more than 43 percent of non-elderly adults whose earnings fall in the cost-sharing earnings eligibility threshold. Without the law’s cost-sharing reductions, Americans of all income levels will either pay more for health care or lose coverage altogether as insurers may pull out of insurance markets across the country. Without action from Congress, the future of CSRs lies with the Administration, which has made contradictory statements on this topic for months and failed to put forward a timeline for how long it will continue making these payments.

In response to this budget, Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement:

“This budget deal includes a win for students with the restoration of year-round Pell, but then turns around and cuts $1.3B from the program.  As we move toward the upcoming FY2018 budget negotiation, Congress and the Administration must end this strategy of raiding Pell.  

With this budget, the future also remains uncertain for young adults’ access to affordable health care. It’s past time the Administration and Republicans in Congress follow the law and commit to permanently pay out cost-sharing reductions. Including funding for cost-sharing reductions in this budget would have been the clearest and most direct way to do so: as Congressional Republicans continue to recklessly push to undermine and repeal the ACA,  we’re left at the whim of the Administration, which has already equivocated on this issue and put our nation’s health at risk. Future budget deals must hold the line on ensuring affordable health care for our generation.”

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Equity Attainment Gaps Growing in Most States

By Beatrice Ohene-Okae

Policymakers, businesses, institutions, and students share the goal of increasing the college attainment rate for our nation’s students broadly. College enrollment has increased over the last few years, but troublingly gaps in education attainment between white and other groups of students have actually been increasing. These gaps in attainment rate provide insight into the shortcomings of our higher education system, and challenge our ability to level the playing field and increase success overall. Young Invincibles recently published a comprehensive report on national equity gaps with federal policy strategies to address these problems. With our country’s population continuing to diversify, it is important that young people across our generation have equitable opportunities to access and complete higher education, increasing our ability to contribute to our local and state economies and create economically secure futures.

Both the federal government and states influence students’ ability to pursue affordable, quality education. To better understand how each state fits into the broader problem nationally, we analyzed attainment rates by race and ethnicity in every state and how they compare across different ethnic and racial groups. We identified gaps in the current rates (as of 2015) as well as compared the ten-year change from 2005. The results are troubling:

  • Over the last 10 years, 38 states (out of the 45 with data available) have seen the gap between African-American and white individuals widen.
  • Similarly, 39 states and the District of Columbia have widened their education attainment gaps between Latinx and white individuals.
  • On average, the gap between African-Americans and white Americans has grown 1.3 points in the last decade, while the gap between Latinx and white Americans has grown 1.9 percent.

The map linked below shows the current gaps and ten year changes for both demographics in every state (please click the image below to use the interactive map):

map1

From the map, we identified the five states with the highest attainment gaps in 2015 between white students and Latinx and African-American respectively, as well as the states whose gaps have grown the most in the last decade:

Table1

Few states have closed their education attainment gaps in the last decade.  New Mexico, Delaware, Oregon, Georgia, Connecticut, Nebraska, Virginia, Mississippi are among the 11 states that have closed education attainment gaps between African-American individuals and white individuals over the last 10 years. Maine, D.C, Hawaii, Wyoming, Puerto Rico, and Alaska are some of the 10 states that have closed education attainment gaps between Latinx individuals and white individuals.

What’s Driving Attainment Gaps (and helping close them)
There are numerous factors driving racial and ethnic disparities in our higher education system, so it remains difficult to point to singular strategies or programs states or institutions are using that widen or close these gaps.

African American and Latinx students experience unique legacies of discrimination and oppression. These legacies stem from explicit and implicit bias on an individual basis, as well as structural disparities in K-12 funding. Addressing these historic and current disparities requires explicitly acknowledging the unique challenges faced by underrepresented African-American, Latinx, and other students. That is why it’s encouraging to see influential organizations like the Lumina Foundation (and many others) include a “strong equity imperative” in their strategic plan and emphasize that “[e]quity must be at the center of our work to increase postsecondary attainment and reach Goal 2025.” Below we take a look a closer look at what some states and institutions are doing to acknowledge the problem and develop policies and interventions to improve equity in their systems:

Georgia
Georgia has bucked national trends and closed the African-American attainment gap by 1 percent over the last 10 years, decreasing the original gap of 11 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2015. This is particularly significant as Georgia hosts one of the largest African American populations in the country. One potential driver of this trend is Georgia State University, recently recognized for conferring the most bachelor’s degrees to African-American students in the country. Georgia State has been using a predictive analytics system to improve the success of their students. The program has “tracked more than 140,000 student records and 2.5 million grades in order to identify behaviors that put a student at risk” of not completing and alert academic advisors to keep students on track to graduate. The outcomes at Georgia State have increased graduation rates by 6 percentage points since 2013, and helped students receive their degrees almost half a semester sooner than before, which has saved an estimated $12 million in tuition. The program at Georgia State has been so successful that, through the University Innovation Alliance, other universities such as Kansas University, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University have adopted these strategies as well to help improve the success of their students.

Arizona
In Arizona, the attainment gap between Latinx individuals and white individuals has decreased by 1 percent over the last 10 years. Local dual-enrollment programs such as the Achieving a College Education (ACE) Program at Maricopa County Community College District (one of the largest community colleges in the country, serving 200,000 students)  could be working to close gaps. The program allows high school juniors and seniors to earn up 24 college credits. Additionally, Access ASU helps increase access to higher education for all Arizona students, and has several programs that support the academic needs of undocumented students or that help increase the number of first-generation Arizona students who are qualified and prepared to enroll at Arizona State University.

South Carolina
Likewise, South Carolina has decreased its attainment gaps between Latinx students and white students by 2 points in the last decade. At the same time, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has increased access to specific higher education resources for African-American, Latinx, and Native American students through comprehensive financial aid programs and scholarships. These programs and scholarship opportunities make college accessible and affordable for students of color, and could be contributing to the the closing attainment gaps for the state.

Conclusion
While federal policy helps provide underrepresented students with resources such as financial aid and support for minority-serving institutions, state and institutional policies play a large role in helping to close equity gaps. As our country continues to diversify, it’s clear that disadvantaged students are not receiving the educational resources that they need to succeed. Moving forward, we encourage states and individual institutions to take a good look at their education attainment gaps and develop policies to address them.

Methodology
The analysis looked at population and education attainment figures provided by the U.S Census Bureau and American Community Survey (1-Year Estimates). From this information, the education attainment rate was calculated for each state. We analyzed current rates in education attainment (as of 2015) for 2 year and 4 year degrees as well as ten year (2005 to 2015) to estimate differences in the education attainment by comparing the attainment rates of Latinx students to white/non-Latinx students as well as comparing the attainment rates of African-American/black students to white/Latinx students. Overall, gaps in postsecondary education attainment have been increasing in the United States over the last 10 years between white students and other groups. The national average attainment gap between African-American and white students was 14 percent for 2015, and 19 percent between Latinx and white students.

From the initial analysis, states such as Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont did not have a large enough African-American population as compared to the margin of error for general population calculations, and therefore lacked sufficient data on the education attainment rate for this population group. These states were omitted from calculations for the education attainment gaps between African-Americans and whites in 2015 as well as from the 10 year education attainment gaps between African-Americans and whites. They are represented in grey for both layers of the map.

“Importing degrees” impacts this analysis. The attainment rate measures the degree holders currently living in each state but not necessarily the amount of degrees that each state produces.

Beatrice Ohene-Okae is currently the GIS Fellow for Young Invincibles – a policy driven organization in Washington, DC focused on addressing millennial issues surrounding healthcare, education, and employment. She is currently a senior at the University of Mary Washington and will be receiving a B.A. in Geography, minor in Environmental Sustainability, and certificate in GIS this May.

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Latest Republican Health Care Plan Could Hurt the 46 Percent of Young Adults with a Pre-Existing Condition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 26, 2017
Contact: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214-223-2913

[Washington, D.C.] — Today, Young Invincibles released a new report analyzing health care coverage for Millennials, underscoring how detrimental the latest version of the American Health Care Act would be for young people. The report reviews the gains young adults (18-34) have experienced under the Affordable Care Act, and the specific provisions most relevant to this generation. The new Republican replacement plan would remove or severely limit the impact of many of these provisions.

Millennials have seen dramatic gains in health insurance coverage since passage of the ACA, outpacing every other age demographic. The young adult uninsurance rate dropped from 29 percent in 2010, the highest rate among all age groups, to 16 percent in 2015. This represent a 45 percent decrease in the rate of uninsurance. Despite constituting only about one-third of the total United States population, young adults accounted for nearly half (46 percent) of the newly insured from 2014 to 2015.

The report finds that young people saw the impact of reform through several provisions, including three of the key provisions at risk in the latest House GOP proposal: protections from discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions; the expansion of Medicaid; and the inclusion of a number of key services in the essential health benefits package.  The latest version of the Republican health care proposal would either entirely remove or severely limit coverage and health services gains in all three provisions.

  • Discrimination against pre-existing conditions would hurt millions of Millennials: Millions of young adults are living with a preexisting condition. An analysis conducted by HHS in 2011 found 35 percent of 18- 24 year olds and 46 percent of 25-34 year olds were considered at risk for denial of health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Allowing states to easily remove essential health benefits would cut services that young adults use the most:
    • Maternity Coverage: The vast majority (83 percent) of first-time mothers are between the ages of 18-34 and rely on prenatal and maternity care.
    • Mental Health Services: Mental health was the number one reason young adults sought health care in 2013, with 7.6 million young adults taking advantage of this service.
    • Preventive Care: Young adults use preventive care for STD and HIV testing, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, depression and alcohol screening, and perhaps most importantly to young women, access to prescription contraception.
  • Gutting Medicaid could harm nearly half of all young adults who got covered under the ACA: Of the 8 million young adults who gained coverage since the ACA passed, nearly 4 million gained coverage through the expansion of state Medicaid programs. Closing the Medicaid coverage gap—by expanding Medicaid programs in all states to cover individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level—would further reduce the uninsured rate for young adults to 9.2 percent

“This newest version of the House GOP plan takes a bad bill and makes it worse for young people,” said Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles. “It was already going to take away health coverage for 24 million people and severely increase the uninsured rate for this generation. The newest outline builds on that devastation, allowing states to discriminate against millions of young people living with a pre-existing condition – condemning too many in this generation to a lifetime of battles trying to get coverage and care they can actually afford. At the same time, it also allows states to pull coverage benefits for mothers seeking maternity care to ensure they can have healthy babies and the million of young people who need mental health services. Young people, and all Americans, expect more.”

Click here to read the full report.

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