Young Invincibles’ Preliminary Response to Governor Cuomo’s FY-2018 Executive Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 19, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[New York] — On Tuesday night, New York State Governor Cuomo released his FY-2018 Executive Budget. To read Young Invincibles’ full analysis of the budget, please click here. Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, released the below statement in response:

  “Governor Cuomo just released the latest executive budget, which has the opportunity to direct much needed funding to programs that help young adult New Yorkers get the education and skills they so badly want and need to enter our state’s economy. With more than 15 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds unemployed and looking for work, this could translate to a potential loss of about $8.8 billion in earnings to New Yorkers over the course of the next decade–the stakes are too high to get it wrong.

The Governor is also proposing to double down on the state’s marquee youth employment program – the $50 million New York Youth Jobs small dollar tax credit for employers – despite evidence suggesting employers don’t find it effective and would rather see investments in training to skill up tomorrow’s workforce.

We are excited by the increased funding Governor Cuomo’s budget dedicates to supporting young adults, but see improvements that must be made to truly support this population in the longterm. The Governor’s plan to make college more affordable through the Excelsior Scholarship is laudable, but we have serious concerns with details of the current proposal that would exclude and penalize part-time, working, low-income students. Additionally the Governor’s budget proposes another five years of unaffordable annual $250 tuition hikes to SUNY and CUNY students who don’t qualify, and provides no “Maintenance of Effort” funding to ensure schools can keep up high quality programs.

We hope that these vital funding streams will continue to be bolstered but also be directed to those programs that provide quality opportunities for young people. With most jobs today requiring a post-secondary education, and with poverty and unemployment rates for young adults across the state remain high, it’s critical that the final budget deal invests in strategies we know work.”

To read Young Invincibles’ full analysis underscoring the unmet needs of young adult New Yorkers, especially SUNY and CUNY students and those entering the workforce, please click here: YI FY-2018 New York State Budget Analysis.

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Young Invincibles Voices Serious Concerns Over Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 19, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[WASHINGTON] — During Tuesday night’s confirmation hearing, Secretary of Education-Designate Betsy DeVos took questions from the members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on a host of issues related to education in America.

Young Invincibles’ Deputy Director, Rory O Sullivan, released the following statement in reaction to the hearing:

“Despite hours of rigorous questioning, Mrs. DeVos’ positions on a host of issues vital to today’s students and borrowers remain woefully unclear at best or outright harmful at worst. She failed to articulate clear stances on crucial questions like how to address the staggering increases in student debt, whether she would protect Pell grants and other forms of student aid, and how to assist millions of student loan borrowers struggling with a complex system and unmanageable monthly payments.  Beyond these critical policy concerns, when asked about combating “waste, fraud, and abuse” by predatory schools, Mrs. DeVos would not commit to enforcing existing rules like the gainful employment rule. Neither could she say clearly who would be in charge of any enforcement efforts should she be confirmed as Secretary.

In a time when over 40 million borrowers are grappling with 1.3 trillion dollars of growing student debt, a Secretary of Education without an agenda or even an opinion on issues that affect millions of students and borrowers is a major cause for concern. We are seriously apprehensive about the nomination of Secretary-Designate DeVos.”

 

 

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Automatic Group Student Loan Relief Offered to Defrauded Borrowers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 13, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[Washington, D.C.] - The Department of Education announced today that federal student loan borrowers at the defunct American Career Institute in Massachusetts are eligible for automatic group discharge of their federal student loans under the recently finalized borrower defense rule. Investigations by the Department of Education and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, combined with admissions of wrongdoing by ACI, demonstrated that the school misled and deceived students, employed unauthorized instructors, and exaggerated its job placement rates.

“The decision to grant automatic group discharge lifts a huge weight off the shoulders of students who were deceived,” said Reid Setzer, Deputy Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for Young Invincibles. “Discharging loans used to attend fraudulent institutions is exactly what the Department should do in cases like these. The Department has made sure that these defrauded borrowers can get back on track, without having to go through complex and confusing processes that can prevent them from obtaining relief. We hope the Department will continue to protect students from predatory actors and help restore the financial security of students whenever fraud has been found, so they can continue to pursue their educations.”

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New Report from Young Invincibles: Millennials are Significantly Less Financially Secure Than Baby Boomer Parents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 13, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

New Report from Young Invincibles: Millennials are Significantly Less Financially Secure Than Baby Boomer Parents

 Millennials have half the net wealth Boomers did when they were young adults

[Washington, D.C.] — Today, Young Invincibles released its latest report, The Financial Health of Young America: Measuring Generational Declines Between Baby Boomers & Millennials. The report analyzes the economic challenges facing today’s young people and represents the most comprehensive look to date at the financial security of Millennials compared to their parents. The findings are based on a cross-generational analysis of Millennials today compared to Boomers when they were young adults.  In summary, this generation of young people earns lower incomes, is less likely to own a home, and has lower net wealth than their parents’ generation at the same stage in life. Some of the key findings include:

  • Millennials have amassed a net wealth half that of Boomers at the same age.
  • Young adult workers today earn $10,000 less than young adults in 1989, a decline of 20 percent.
  • When baby boomers were young adults, they owned twice the amount of assets as young adults.

“These findings uncover that Millennials have been set back significantly, by not just the Great Recession but by decades-long financial trends, resulting in major generational declines in financial security between Millennials and Baby Boomers when they were the same age,” said Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy and Research for Young Invincibles. “Millennials make up the greatest share of the workforce and the largest generation in history, so in many ways the situation facing young adults today forecasts the financial challenges ahead for the nation.”

This report also distinguishes financial security by the characteristics that make this generation unique in the first place: cultural and racial diversity, the increased need for skills to compete in the workforce, and a growing reliance on student debt to finance postsecondary education.

While we’ve seen some progress in closing wealth gaps since the 80s, there are still stark and disturbing disparities in wealth across racial groups. The report shows that young African Americans’ median wealth has declined by a third since 1989. Low wages continue to exacerbate racial disparities, as young African Americans and Latinos earn 57 cents and 64 cents respectively for every dollar earned by young whites.

Regarding student debt, the report underscores that higher education is still on the whole a person’s best pathway to financial security. It is also increasingly necessary in today’s workforce which requires higher levels of education. A college graduate in 2013 earned roughly the same income as a high school graduate did in 1989. Yet student debt is blunting some of the premium a degree provides. Median assets declined faster for student borrowers with a degree (-71 percent), than those with only a high school diploma or less (-54 percent).

The report outlines a bipartisan policy plan to help Millennials start building wealth, which includes the Earned Income Tax Credit, increasing the minimum wage, portable retirement plans, incentivizing ways to save tax refunds, and more. “As the new administration and Congress take office this month, we urge them to consider these findings. We need policies that will help Millennials build wealth and make sure our generation doesn’t fall further behind,” said Allison.

 

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Newly Released Gainful Employment Data Holds Schools Accountable for Return on Student and Taxpayer Investment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 9, 2016
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[Washington, D.C.] – Today, the Department of Education released its latest gainful employment data including important information about how well graduates from two-year and four-year career and vocational programs can afford their student debt. Every career program receives a debt-to-earnings ratio showing how much their graduates earn compared to what they borrowed. Programs that exceed debt-to-earnings thresholds for multiple years fail the test and ultimately lose access to federal financial aid. Moreover, the Department of Education could use the data to warn students and families about poorly performing schools.

Christopher Nellum, Policy Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“Too many career colleges charge high prices, but fail to adequately train students for the job market, leaving them under mountains of debt with few prospects. Bad actors are particularly common in the for-profit sector, and the newly released data show that 98% of the programs that failed the gainful employment test are for-profit institutions. We’ve consistently supported holding poorly performing schools of all types accountable for providing quality education and for responsibly using student and taxpayer investments.

Despite providing major benefits and protections for consumers and taxpayers, the gainful employment rule is under threat by the incoming Congress, members of which have already expressed a desire to eliminate it or roll it back. This would be a serious mistake. With college costs and student debt rising, we must maintain and strengthen rules like gainful employment, which keep the interests of students first.”

Young Invincibles was a lead student advocate on the gainful employment negotiated rulemaking session.

 

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Young Invincibles’ Statement on NY Governor Cuomo’s Announcement of Tuition Free Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 3rd, 2016

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[New York] – Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Excelsior Scholarship program to provide free tuition to roughly 940,000 New York State residents who make less than $125,000 and attend a SUNY or CUNY school full-time.

Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“After years of tuition hikes and structural disinvestment to New York State’s two public university systems, students are excited that increased state resources are going to help them access more affordable public higher education. This is a positive step forward, and we’re hopeful that this commitment to investing in the education of young adults will be extended to even more students, including part-time and immigrant students.

We look forward to continuing the conversation with the Governor and the legislature to ensure that, in addition to covering tuition costs, resources are available to help students who are struggling to pay for other expenses associated with earning degree such as child care, housing, transportation, and more. Non-tuition expenses make up the majority of the full cost of attending 4-year and 2-year public institutions.

It is critical that any proposal to make tuition free comes with a commitment from state lawmakers to also fully fund CUNY and SUNY so they can provide the high quality public higher education New Yorkers need to succeed in our workforce.”

Young Invincibles is a Steering Committee member of the CUNY Rising Alliance.

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Young Invincibles Announces “YI Scholars” Summer Fellowship Program for College Students in Partnership with Cognosante Foundation

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

Young Invincibles Announces “YI Scholars” Summer Fellowship Program for College Students in Partnership with Cognosante Foundation

Washington, DC— January 3, 2017 —Young Invincibles (YI), a national Millennial research and advocacy organization, and the Cognosante Foundation, the charitable arm of Cognosante–pioneers in health IT solutions– are pleased to announce the third year of the YI Scholars Program. Launched in March 2015, the summer fellowship program offers first-generation college students the opportunity to join the Young Invincibles team in working on today’s most pressing economic issues facing young adults.

The fellowship program builds a range of skills, including public speaking, data analysis, training, community organizing, and development. Scholars serve as integral members of Young Invincibles’ departments for the 10-week program, helping to support research projects, policy initiatives, media strategy, organizing, curriculum development for YI health and financial education initiatives, consulting services, and beyond. Fellows will also have the opportunity to attend networking events, visit with YI’s partner organizations, and will receive a variety of trainings on professional development skills.

This summer, the class will increase from last year’s eight fellows to ten: four fellows will participate in the program from YI’s Washington, D.C. office, two fellows from the Chicago, IL office, two from the Austin, TX office, and two from our Los Angeles, CA office. Regional fellows will fly to Washington, D.C. to meet with their fellow Scholars, staff and the Cognosante Foundation, and to participate in other activities at the beginning and end of the program.

The Cognosante Foundation is funding the entire program and will work closely with the YI Scholars throughout the summer.

“The Cognosante Foundation is committed to developing opportunities for young people and underrepresented communities,” said Michele Kang, founder and CEO of Cognosante and the President of the Cognosante Foundation. “We have seen first-hand the positive impacts of the YI Scholars Program, and we are pleased to partner again with Young Invincibles to not only offer but to expand the program in 2017.”

The YI Scholars Program provides a $5,000 summer stipend for fellows, with a focus on first-generation college students, and strongly encourages students from underrepresented communities to apply. The program will also cover the cost of travel to and from D.C., Austin, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Applicants must show a record of achievement in campus and/or community involvement, leadership potential, an entrepreneurial spirit, and an interest in our issue areas. After completing the program, Scholars will become part of a Scholars Alumni Program to ensure that they continue to engage with other young leaders going forward.

“Building on the success of the last two years, we’re excited for our program expansion.  The YI Scholars program is a great opportunity for us to work with the next generation of young leaders, helping them build the skills they’ll need to join the effort in bettering opportunity for our generation and elevating the voices of young adults on the national stage,” said Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles.

Interested students can find out more details about the program and how to apply through the online application and at http://younginvincibles.org/yi-scholars/.

***

About Young Invincibles:

Young Invincibles is a policy and advocacy organization committed to expanding economic opportunity for Millennials, young adults ages 18 to 34, and to amplifying the voices of our generation. Young Invincibles works to ensure that young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge research and analysis, and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo. For more information about Young Invincibles, please visit: younginvincibles.org.

About Cognosante Foundation:

Launched by Cognosante CEO Michele Kang in 2012, the Cognosante Foundation exists to help underprivileged and under-resourced individuals, including U.S. Veterans, to build meaningful professional careers, achieve financial independence, and find their path to success. The Cognosante Foundation was created to spread the benefits of Cognosante’s success to numerous deserving causes, including Young Invincibles. More information can be found at: Cognosante.com.

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New Report from Young Invincibles: New York State’s Top Strategy to Address Crisis-Level Youth Unemployment Doesn’t Match Employer or Young Worker Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 19, 2016
Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

New York — Today, the Northeast regional office of Young Invincibles, a young adult research and advocacy organization, has released a new report “Sounding the Alarm: New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & The Need for State-Based Reforms.” The report takes an in-depth look at the state’s single largest youth jobs investment–a tax credit through the Urban Youth Jobs Program –and demonstrates that the program does not meaningfully impact employer behavior. The report also outlines how to repurpose those resources to focus on evidence-based strategies that invest in developing the skills of young adults.

Youth unemployment among young New Yorkers ages 16-24 is at crisis-levels. Across the state, the unemployment rate for residents 35 years and older is four percent, compared to a 15 percent statewide average unemployment rate for young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.

Right now, the state’s largest investment to combat this issue is the Urban Youth Jobs Program (UYJP), which offers employers small dollar tax credits for hiring disadvantaged young adults. This tax credit currently represents a $50 million dollar annual appropriation from the state budget.

Through Young Invincibles’ original research on the program and extensive interviews with employers and key stakeholders, the report reveals that the UYJP is failing to provide young people, especially the most disadvantaged, with valuable training. Moreover, it shows that employers value having young adult workers who have skills over small dollar tax credits. Of the employers surveyed statewide, an overwhelming majority of 93 percent indicated that the kinds of tax credits provided through the UYJP do not impact their hiring decisions or retention.

“At a time when our economy demands some type of postsecondary credential to be a competitive and skilled worker, high young adult unemployment should be a major concern for state lawmakers” said Kevin Stump, author of the report and the Northeast Regional Director of Young Invincibles. “As a state, we need to stop continuing to spend precious development dollars on programs that are not shown to work, and should instead invest in strong evidence-based models. The future of our workforce and the financial security of young New Yorkers depend on it.”

 

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Young Invincibles Commends Department of Ed For Recent Steps Taken To Help Distressed Borrowers

The Department of Education recently released the final version of what has been commonly referred to as the “Borrower Defense Rule” to the benefit of students nationwide. The rule has several features that benefit students:

  • The rule strictly limits pre-dispute arbitration agreements between a school and a student. Too often, these arbitration agreements buried in the fine print of enrollment forms have stifled or outright stripped students of their right to a day in court, as well as the right to form a class action. The elimination of these arbitration clauses will increase the odds that bad actors can be held accountable to benefit of students and taxpayers.
  • The rule moves to hold risky institutions accountable to students and taxpayers by creating clear pathways and triggers that enact taxpayer protections in case of institutional failure. This includes requiring letters of credit from flagging schools to ensure that should they close, students can be made whole and taxpayers are protected. While the statutory rights of defrauded students and students at closed schools are not dependent on the financial holdings of the institution they attended, the rule provides important mechanisms to hold schools accountable, limit harm, and prevent future fraudulent behavior.
  • The rule also includes early warning provisions for students and provides essential information about closed school discharges, including automatic discharge for students that do not re-enroll within three years and retroactive relief. Borrower outreach and education about their options is extremely necessary, as is automatic discharge where it can be granted.

The rule also creates a standard process for borrower defense relief and enables automatic group discharge when determined by the Department of Education. While it is important this option was maintained and clarified, it is important that automatic group discharge be granted wherever possible to make defrauded students whole wherever the Department has determined evidence of fraud. This would include, but certainly not be limited to, the situation with Corinthian Colleges, where fraud was rampant and the vast majority of students have yet to receive relief.

Additionally, the Department announced that it will be restoring Pell Grant eligibility to students who attended closed schools. This is an enormous relief to an untold number of students, both past, present, and future, who will now have vital grant aid to help them continue their pursuit of higher education. This comes in the wake of the bipartisan support for Pell reinstatement in letters from Sen. Murray and Rep. Messer asking the Department to use its authority to reinstate Pell for students affected by closed schools. It is our hope that this restoration of Pell tied to closed school discharges will prompt Congress to pass legislation to both restore Pell for defrauded borrowers, as well as restore GI Bill educational benefits for student veterans who attended a closed school or were defrauded.

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Young Invincibles Releases Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 5, 2016

Contact: Sarah Schultz, Sarah.Schultz@YoungInvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

Young Invincibles Releases Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform

Groups representing over one Million students sign on

[Washington] – Today, Young Invincibles released the Student Agenda for Postsecondary Data Reform, elevating the student perspective on how we should reform our higher education data systems. The proposal would create a more transparent and effective educational system. On average, earning a postsecondary degree is a young adult’s best path toward better job prospects and economic security, yet is more expensive than ever. Students want to know what the return on their investments will be, but current limitations on the information available restricts them from doing so.

“Right now we can’t answer basic questions about the value of different colleges, like which schools or programs lead to different types of jobs, for different types of students. This is a remarkable lack of transparency given the $1.3 trillion students have borrowed to finance their educations. Students across the country weighed in on how to reform our system, and they are eager to access more and better data to inform their decisions of where to go to school and how to pay for it,” said Tom Allison, Deputy Director of Policy and Research, Young Invincibles.

Over the course of the last two years, Young Invincibles has worked with students across the country to understand how they view information about college outcomes, gathering their perspectives on topics including what kind of data should be collected, how we should use that data most responsibility, and how to protect privacy. The agenda outlines a set of reforms that would increase the amount of data available with an emphasis on better reflecting today’s student population and on accountable and secure use. Groups representing over one million students signed support this agenda.

“The Association of Big Ten Students signed on to the Agenda because we believe that students should know what they are getting when they make one of the largest and most important investments in their life. There is no legitimate reason that we cannot have access to this valuable data and make sure that personal information is protected,” said William Dammann, Legislative Affairs Director for the Association of Big Ten Students, an organization representing hundreds of thousands of students at institutions in the Big 10 Athletic Conference.

To learn more about the agenda and to sign on on behalf of yourself, organization, college or university, find more here:

http://younginvincibles.org/higher-education-data-reform/student-agenda/

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