Advocates Push Low-Cost Solution to Support More Texas Families Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common complication of childbirth and can affect families in a range of ways that include emotional and physical wellbeing and economic security. In fact, PPD can be devastating to the economic growth and security of families across Texas. Postpartum depression has been associated with decreased employment and income in affected mothers. In addition, untreated PPD has also been tied to negative outcomes for children—such as delays in language, cognitive, and motor development and other vital components of school readiness—that can impair the ability of our youngest Texans to achieve economic security as they grow older. 

While state lawmakers have already demonstrated their commitment to recognizing the seriousness of the connection, more can be done. Young Invincibles led a letter–joined by some of the state’s leading public health and child welfare organizations–requesting the legislature ensure the state applies for a new federal grant opportunity for postpartum depression treatment.

To read the letter, please click here.

 

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Advocates Call on Congress to Prioritize Young Adults’ Health Gains

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

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

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Comments on Request for Information Regarding Student Loan Borrower Communications

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Attention: Monica Jackson
Office of the Executive Secretary 1700 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20552

Re: CFPB-2016-0018-0001, Comments on Request for Information Regarding Student Loan Borrower Communications www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CFPB-2016-0018-0001

Dear Ms. Jackson,

Young Invincibles (YI) thanks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for requesting comments on their proposed “Payback Playbook”, a simplified tool to help borrowers understand their student loan repayment options. YI is a non-profit advocacy organization working to advance economic opportunities for young adults ages 18 to 34 in the areas of health care, higher education and economic security.

Over the last several years, Young Invincibles has talked to young adults across the country about their first-hand experiences with loan servicing and has heard time and again from students who are confused or misinformed by their servicers. In 2015, we conducted a survey of over 1200 borrowers that yielded the following results:

  • 54% of borrowers felt that their servicer had made it more difficult to repay their student loans.
  • 37% of borrowers felt that they had not received timely or accurate responses from their servicer.
  • 39% of borrowers who contacted their servicer to change their repayment plan to lower their monthly payments did not reach a positive outcome.
  • 32% of borrowers reported that when their student loan servicer changed, they experienced problems repaying their loans as a result.
  • Almost half of the over 1,200 respondents took the time to write out descriptions of problems they have had with their servicers.

These survey results support the thousands of anecdotal stories YI has heard for years from borrowers about the problems encountered when dealing with servicers. Even more problematic is that the majority of survey respondents had completed college or graduate school and are more likely to have the means to repay their loans. This leads to two conclusions. First, the system is so ineffective and difficult to navigate it stymies borrowers who have the means to repay and may have more experience navigating complex systems. Second, borrowers without a degree who are in the most danger of delinquency and default too often cannot get the help they need to avoid negative outcomes.

We are hopeful that a streamlined tool like the Payback Playbook can be effective in reaching the huge population of borrowers that experience these difficulties. The proposed tool appears to present clear, yet contrasting, repayment options to the borrower. We’ve heard from young people that information that is unique to their situation and contains a limited number of distinct choices is preferable to general information with several choices. In light of that, YI recommends:

  • The Playbook is linked to on the borrower’s home page on their servicer’s website. We hope this would ensure that borrowers are always aware there is a tool to view some of their repayment options in clear language.
  • The Playbook is emailed to borrowers every month during their grace period until they select a repayment plan, as well as appearing unprompted every time the borrower logs on until they select a repayment plan. Preventing delinquency and default is best done before the borrower enters into either situation, and ensuring clear information for borrowers at the beginning of their repayment process should be helpful.
  • The Playbook appears unprompted at regular intervals when a borrower logs into their account, regardless of borrower status.
  • The Playbook is emailed to borrowers annually, timed to coincide when they will be required to re-certify if enrolled in an income-based plan.
  • The Playbook appears unprompted every time a delinquent or defaulted borrower logs into their account, until the delinquency or default is positively resolved. Preventing negative outcomes for borrowers is essential, and every opportunity should be used to get borrowers into plans that work for them.
  • The Playbook page for delinquent and defaulted borrowers offers the plan that will result in the lowest monthly payment.
  • The Playbook page for non-delinquent borrowers clearly states that there are more than the three plans visually represented available, and the information located on the bottom of the page on additional plans is made slightly larger. While simplified choices are a good gateway to the borrower understanding they can change their plan, until the system is further simplified, access to information on all plans should remain available.
  • The Playbook should also be mobile-friendly. Many young people are smartphone- dependent.

We are hopeful these recommendations will be responsive to the needs of borrowers.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Payback Playbook proposal. We hope that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds our input valuable and we look forward to continuing to work together. For more information, please contact Reid Setzer, at reid.setzer@younginvincibles.org or at 609-379-0123.

 

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Comments on Proposed Department of Education Complaint System

In light of the many challenges and obstacles presented to young people by our current higher education system, the Department of Education has decided to solicit comments on how such a system could be developed and finalized this year. In response to the Department’s request, Young Invincibles filed this comment.

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Young Invincibles Details Priorities in Letter to Congressional Appropriators

On the heels of passing a recent bipartisan budget deal, Congress has the potential to invest in programs that would greatly help young people. Please find a letter to Congressional leaders detailing Young Invincibles’ appropriations priorities here.

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Comments on Proposed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Rules

The United States’ Millennial unemployment rate is roughly 40 percent higher than the national average, despite the fact that many jobs remain unfilled. By helping narrow the skills gap, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a big step towards ensuring young people have the training they need to fill the jobs of the 21st century. In response to the law’s proposed rules, Young Invincibles filed these comments.

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Comments on U.S. Senate HELP Committee’s Risk Sharing White Paper

In response to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s request for input on his Committee staff’s white paper on risk sharing in higher education, Young Invincibles submitted the following comments. We support the goal of aligning and improving federal incentives to elevate institutions’ interest in reducing the burden of student debt and improving access and success.

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Comments Regarding Proposed College Ratings Framework

February 17, 2015

U.S. Department of Education
Attention: National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20006

Re: For Public Feedback: A College Ratings Framework

Dear Sir or Madam:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the College Ratings Framework as published on December 19, 2014. As a non-profit research and advocacy organization working toward expanding economic opportunity for young adults, we applaud the Department of Education’s (hereafter “the Department”) work to make institutions of higher learning more accountable to students and families, better able to improve, and more transparent for taxpayers.

We understand and appreciate the difficulty of achieving an ambitious project such as the one that the Department lays out in its framework. Systems within higher education are extremely complex, often to the detriment of students and families. How the Department will assign value to its activities and outcomes speaks to our values and priorities as a nation. We hope that our comments are beneficial to your work and will result in a usable system that benefits students and families, with an emphasis on students from underrepresented communities.

Click here to download our full Comments.

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Comments Regarding the Administration’s Intent to Expand Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

November 4, 2014

Ms. Wendy Macias
U.S. Department of Education
1990 K Street NW, Room 8017
Washington, DC 20006

Re: Docket ID ED-2014-OPE-0124 – Intent to Establish Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

Dear Ms. Macias:

We write in response to the September 3, 2014 Federal Register notice soliciting input on the U.S. Department of Education’s upcoming negotiated rulemaking. Young Invincibles is a national nonprofit dedicated to creating economic opportunity for young adults and amplifying the voices of 18 to 34 year olds on issues like health care, higher education, and jobs. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to submit comments on the administration’s intent to expand Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

To download our full Comment, please click here.

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Comment on the Proposed Removal of Question 12 of American Community Survey

Department of Commerce
Attn: Jennifer Jessup
Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer
14th and Constitution Avenue N., Room 6616
Washington, DC 20230

Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey
Content Review Results

Dear Ms. Jessup:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the content review results of the American Community Survey (ACS) and the proposed removal of questions. We appreciate the Department of Commerce’s efforts to reduce burden on survey respondents by weighing the benefits and costs of questions included in the survey. The ACS is an important instrument for measuring the economic and social conditions in this country, and soliciting public input on changes is appropriate and necessary.

However, we have concerns over the Department’s assessment of Question No. 12 asking respondents to “print below the specific major(s) of any BACHELOR’S DEGREES this person has received.” We cannot agree that Question No. 12 qualifies as a “low benefit” question. We strongly urge the Department to commit to retaining this question in all future editions of the ACS.

Click here to download our full Comment.

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