Failed Student Loan Refinancing Vote “Profoundly Disappointing”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 25, 2015
Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281

Young Invincibles’ Statement on Failed Student Loan Refinancing Vote in the U.S. Senate
[WASHINGTON]–Today, the United States Senate voted down an amendment by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would have allowed federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans and take advantage of today’s low interest rates. 

“We are profoundly disappointed that the Senate rejected a proposal to allow struggling borrowers to refinance their student loans,” said Jennifer Wang, Policy Director of Young Invincibles. “Student debt is holding back our generation. Student loan borrowers deserve the same consumer protections that mortgage borrowers have. We hear every day from struggling borrowers that diligently make monthly payments on their loans but continue to see the balance on their debt reach new heights.”
 
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New Report Calls for Florida to Prioritize Financial Aid Towards Low-Income Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 24, 2015

Contacts: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org214.223.2913

Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281

New Report Calls for Florida to Prioritize Financial Aid Towards Low-Income Students

Report Calls for Reconciling Tuition Increases with Boosting Need-Based Aid by Nearly $90 Million

[Tallahassee, Fla.]–On Tuesday, Young Invincibles will release The Case for Need-Based Aid In Florida, a brief exploring the deficiencies in Florida’s financial aid system. The report recommends that lawmakers make an additional $90 million investment in the Florida Student Assistance Grant this session so funding for Florida’s need-based grants keeps pace with the 67 percent increase in tuition Florida’s 4-year public universities have realized since the Great Recession.

“We share Governor Scott’s and the Florida Legislature’s commitment to making college more affordable. But we have to spend our limited resources efficiently. To do that, we need to target aid to students who wouldn’t go to college without the aid,” said Tom Allison, Policy & Research Manager at Young Invincibles. ” The research is clear: awards targeted to students based on their financial need are more effective in improving enrollment rates and student success.”

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15 percent of Florida’s higher education funding goes toward state financial aid, more than half of this funding goes to the Bright Futures scholarship – a merit-based aid program that directs resources disproportionately to wealthier families. Roughly one-quarter of financial aid funding is based on financial need.

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Young Invincibles’ Statement on the Reintroduction of the Bank on Students Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 18, 2015

Young Invincibles’ Statement on the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act of 2015

Bill Would Allow Student Loan Borrowers to Refinance Their Loans, Potentially Saving Them Thousands of Dollars Over the Life of Their Loan

[WASHINGTON]—Today, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act was reintroduced in Congress. The bill would give student loan borrowers with eligible federal and private student loans the opportunity to refinance their debt at today’s lower interest rates, and would extend immediate relief to over 25 million student loan borrowers.

“In the year that has passed, nearly a million additional student loan borrowers have fallen behind on their payments. And, with one in seven students defaulting on their debt within a few years of graduating, this bill marks yet another opportunity for Congress to bring some much-needed, immediate relief to struggling student loan borrowers across the country,” said Jennifer Wang, Policy Director of Young Invincibles. “Our $1.2 trillion dollars in student debt risks the long-term financial security of Millennials and stifles our generation’s ability to contribute to the economy in the years to come.”

Young Invincibles has the following priorities for reforms to our higher education system:

  • Bolstering the Pell Grant by making funding mandatory
  • Simplifying the Federal financial aid system
  • Reforming the Federal Work Study program
  • Providing students with additional data to ensure they’re making well-informed decisions
  • Providing relief to private loan borrowers
  • Promoting innovation in higher education
Please be in touch if you would like to speak with a policy expert.
 
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Young Invincibles’ Statement on Harmful House FY2016 Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 17, 2015

Contacts: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214.223.2913; Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org, 585.746.8281

House FY16 Budget Harms Young People by Cutting Funds for Higher Education, Job Programs, and Health Care

Today, the House Budget Committee released their fiscal year 2016 budget, which harms young adults’ economic security in the areas of higher education, jobs, and healthcare.

Jennifer Wang, policy director at Young Invincibles, said:

“Congress must not balance the federal budget by saddling students and their families with more debt, but the House FY16 Budget does just that. The House plan proposes roadblocks to eligibility for Pell Grants, including some that would bar students entirely from receiving this important aid for college. It also slashes all mandatory funding for Pell Grants, which would leave Pell Grants even more vulnerable to future cuts during the appropriations process. The budget also recommends the use of so-called “fair-value accounting” on student loans to disincentivise the government from strengthening education funding. Students and families deserve real investments, not huge cuts to grants for college and accounting tricks.”

“By consolidating job training programs, this budget also threatens workforce programs that target young adults trying to get back on their feet after the Great Recession. And, this budget also dismantles the Affordable Care Act, which has already resulted in health care coverage for millions of young people. It also attacks Medicaid expansion, which helps low-income families receive critical health services. Now is not the time to roll back job and healthcare policies that have been working for young people.”

To invest in our generation, Young Invincibles has advocated for:

  • Mandatory funding for Pell Grants, year-round Pell Grants, raising maximum Pell Grants to match average in-state tuition at four-year public institutions, and indexing Pell Grants to inflation
  • Strengthening health care coverage for young adults
  • Well-targeted jobs programs that help unemployed young adults
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New Bill Provides Greater Consumer Protections for TX Students at For-Profit Colleges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 17, 2015
New Bill Provides Greater Consumer Protections for Texas Students at For-Profit Colleges
[AUSTIN]–Late last week, Sen. José Rodriguez introduced SB 1625, a disclosure bill aimed at increasing transparency from for-profit schools by giving Texas students access to information, including average loan default rates and average loan amounts. For-profit college students account for just 12 percent of students, but nearly half of all federal student loan defaults.
José Eduardo Sanchez, Southern Director of Young Invincibles, released the following statement on the bill’s introduction:
“Texas students should have access to the information they need to make informed choices about which schools to attend. Senator Rodríguez’s bill would better protect students from predatory schools by making sure they have access to vital data when applying.”
Young Invincibles served as the lead student negotiator on the Department of Education’s Gainful Employment rule making panel last year. Please be in touch if you have any questions about for-profit colleges in Texas or this new legislation.
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Young Invincibles to Launch Summer Fellowship Program, “YI Scholars,” for College Students, in Partnership With the Cognosante Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2015

Young Invincibles to Launch Summer Fellowship Program, “YI Scholars,” for College Students, in Partnership With the Cognosante Foundation

[Washington, DC] — Young Invincibles, a national Millennial research and advocacy group, and the Cognosante Foundation, the charitable arm of Cognosante LLC, will launch a new fellowship program for college students this summer. Called YI Scholars, the program will provide primarily first-generation college students with the opportunity to learn a range of skills, from research and public policy to business skills, while experiencing all that Washington, D.C. has to offer.

Participating college students will develop leadership skills, explore the issue areas that Young Invincibles engages in, and expand their professional networks ahead of graduation. YI Scholars will become a part of a Scholars’ Alumni Program to ensure that they continue to engage with other young leaders going forward.

“Millennials care deeply about advancing solutions to the biggest economic challenges facing our generation today, from student loan debt to disproportionately high unemployment. The YI Scholars program will train the next generation of young leaders and expose them to a range of skillsets critical to tackling these key issues.” — Jen Mishory, Executive Director of Young Invincibles.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Young Invincibles on this innovative program,” says Michele Kang, founder and CEO of both Cognosante LLC and the Foundation. “The Cognosante Foundation’s focus on supporting opportunities for young people and the under-privileged aligns perfectly with the goals of YI Scholars.”

The Cognosante Foundation will provide funding for five participants who will each receive a stipend for the summer. Strong preference will be given to first-generation college students, prioritizing those from under-represented communities. Applicants must show leadership potential and an entrepreneurial spirit.

More details about the program live here. Please be in touch if you have any questions.

Contacts:
Sarah Lovenheim, Sarah.Lovenheim@YoungInvincibles.org, 585-746-8281
Colin Seeberger, Colin.Seeberger@YoungInvincibles.org214-223-2913
Andrew Gordon, Andrew.Gordon@cognosante.com703-206-6039

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Pressure Builds for Secretary Burwell to Expand Access to Maternity Coverage Year-Round

54 U.S. Representatives, More Than 50,000 People and 32 Advocacy Groups Call on HHS to Create a Special Enrollment Period for Pregnancy

[WASHINGTON] — More than 50,000 people and 32 state and national health advocates called on the US Department of Health & Human Services to issue immediate guidance to classify pregnancy as a qualifying life event for special enrollment.

Today’s activities come on the heels of more than 37 Senators and 54 House members writing to Secretary Burwell, asking that the Department do more to help pregnant women access health care coverage year-round.

“The Department of Health & Human Services has demonstrated a willingness to break from insurance industry practices that did not advance public health,” said Christina Postolowski, Health Policy Manager at Young Invincibles. “We hope that it will hear the pleas of a growing chorus calling on them to exercise the same leadership.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), who led the House letter, stressed the urgency of this request from congressional colleagues.

“The number of health advocates, members of Congress, and average Americans calling for this change highlights the importance of this issue and should inspire special urgency for the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “Making sure pregnant women can get the care they need will improve health outcomes for millions of mothers and their babies­, and I hope HHS will take steps to implement this change as quickly as possible.”

Groups participating in the joint petition effort include Daily Kos, RH Reality Check and UltraViolet and Young Invincibles. The letter by health advocates to Secretary Burwell includes support from dozens of other groups, such as Families USA, Moms Rising, National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and Planned Parenthood.

Last month, Young Invincibles released a report, called Without Maternity Coverage, highlighting the devastating financial and health consequences of being unable to access maternity coverage for pregnant women. When asked about the issue after the release of the report, Secretary Burwell said that the Department has based what it classifies as a qualifying life event for special enrollment by following insurance industries guidelines for enrollment opportunities.

Please be in touch if you would like a copy of the House letter, or to speak with one of our policy experts.

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Young Invincibles Responds to President Obama’s Proposal to Put Stronger Consumer Protections in Place for Struggling Student Loan Borrowers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 10, 2015

Contacts:
Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org, 585-746-8281
Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214-223-2913

[WASHINGTON] In response to President Obama’s proposal of a “Student Aid Bill of Rights,” Young Invincibles’ Executive Director Jen Mishory has released the following statement:

“We’re thrilled to see President Obama taking a significant step to give students struggling with poor loan servicing and deceptive debt collection practices a voice through a centralized complaint system. Additionally, students have told us for years that tracking loans across multiple servicers confuses the repayment process; a central point of access for monitoring student loan rates should minimize this challenge.”

Please be in touch if you have any questions.

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Invest In Higher Ed and Work to Narrow Racial Employment Gap

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 6, 2015

Contacts: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org, 214.223.2913

Invest in Higher Education and Work to Narrow Racial Employment Gap

[WASHINGTON]—As the national unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent in January to 5.5 percent in February and the economy added 295,000 jobs, the unemployment rate for 18 to 34 year-olds fell to 7.5 percent in February from 7.8 percent in January (seasonably adjusted).

While we have seen a steady increase in employment over the last year, black young adults still face an unemployment rate that’s more than two times as great as their young white peers – 14.6 percent compared to 6.7 percent, respectively. A Young Invincibles report released last year finds that lawmakers can help narrow this divide by investing in higher education and making college more accessible.

Here are more details on how different populations of young people fared relative to the overall workforce in February 2015:

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• The unemployment rate for Black/African American young adults ages 18 to 34 in February is 14.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 15.5 percent in January.

• The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino young adults ages 18 to 34 in February is 8.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 9 percent in January.

• The unemployment rate for Asian-Pacific Islander young adults ages 18 to 34 in February is 5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 6 percent in January.

• The unemployment rate for white young adults ages 18 to 34 in February is 6.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.1 percent in January.

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Senate Calls for Special Enrollment Window for Pregnant Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 3, 2015

Contacts:
Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org
Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@younginvincibles.org

On the heels of more than three dozen U.S. senators sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services to urge a special enrollment period for pregnant women who lack maternity coverage, Young Invincibles has issued the following response from Christina Postolowski, health policy manager and author of the report, Without Maternity Coverage:

“We’re thrilled to see a growing chorus of leaders, including 37 U.S. Senators, call on the Administration to make maternity coverage available to pregnant women year-round. It’s unacceptable that pregnant women without maternity coverage could face more than $23,000 in medical costs – or worse, suffer severe health consequences or death.”

For further background, please see the attached infographic that highlights the financial and health consequences facing pregnant women who lack pre-natal care today. Christina Postolowski is available to discuss our lobby efforts and research findings on this issue as well, as outlined in her report, Without Maternity Coverage.

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