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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (August 26, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (August 26, 2015)

439 days to go…

Morning everyone. Apologies for the the double delivery of last week’s Millennial Memo. Apparently email problems are a thing right now… Be sure to share this week’s edition with your colleagues and friends, and encourage them to sign up for updates here.

CHRISTIE ENDORSES STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING: In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) said: “The government is ripping people off too. They’re charging interest at 7 or 8 percent, and you can’t refinance it. You can refinance your mortgage. One of the things that we should change is they should be able to refinance those loans at market rates so that the government is not making money off of kids trying to make it through.”

CHRISTIE SAYS STUDENT DEBT IS TOP THREE ISSUE HE HEARS ABOUT IN IA, NH: When asked what voters on the ground are asking him about, Governor Christie said, “The thing I hear about third most in Iowa and New Hampshire is student debt. People are really concerned about student debt — about how this is affecting their children’s lives.” (Morning Joe, August 24, 2015)

CLINTON CALLS FOR AMERICORPS EXPANSION, LIFTING LOAN RELIEF CEILING FOR CORPS MEMBERS: “As part of Hillary Clinton’s central campaign vow to rein in student debt and cut the cost of college, the Democratic frontrunner announced a plan [last] Thursday to expand the AmeriCorps service program and increase aid to program participants for education payments. Clinton’s $20-billion plan would triple the number of AmeriCorps service members to 250,000, according to Clinton’s campaign. It would also increase aid payouts to AmeriCorps participants for college loans from a maximum of $11,550 to more than $23,000.” (TIME, August 20, 2015)

PREVIEWING BIDEN–IN 2008 RUN, THE VP’S COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY PLAN RELIED ON BOOSTING PELL AND A $3,000 TAX CREDIT PER STUDENT: During a 2007 Huffington Post Mash-Up online debate, then Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) said: “As president,.. I would push for [college to be free]. The idea that 12 years of public education is sufficient in the 21st century is ridiculous. I have a thing called a college access program. I would allow every single solitary family making up to $150,000 to be able to have a refundable tax credit of $3,000 per student. Everyone under $50,000 now qualifies for a Pell Grant. I would change them from $4,300 to $6,300 plus the refundable tax credit. It would mean every child in America, every qualified person in America, under an income under $50,000 would have $9,300 to go to any state university in their state in America for four years. But we have to change our mind-set here, and lead with early education, with pre-Head Start and Head Start. The whole Biden plan for starting early and college as well, that whole plan costs less than $18 billion a year.”

HARKIN ON CLINTON’S COMPACT: “Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s plan for reducing college costs and easing student debt burdens could impact more than 125,000 Iowans, former Iowa U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin told reporters in a conference call Monday. ‘Hillary’s plan is sound, it’s doable and will really move the ball forward in providing help to college students,’ said Harkin, a Democrat who served for years on the Senate’s education committee and recently endorsed Clinton’s candidacy.” (The Des Moines Register, August 24, 2015)

CHRISTIE ON ACCOUNTABILITY, CHOICE FOR STUDENTS AND FAMILIES: “We’ve gotta make [schools] accountable… We should be able to see what they’re spending their money on,… and we should be able to spend the money on the things that we want to.” (Morning Joe, August 24, 2015)

SIREN–STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT RATE HITS 17%, UP 6% SINCE LAST YEAR: The Wall Street Journal’s Josh Mitchell reports: “Nearly 7 million Americans have gone at least a year without making a payment on their federal student loans, a high level of default that suggests a widening swath of households are unable or unwilling to pay back their school debt. As of July, 6.9 million Americans with student loans hadn’t sent a payment to the government in at least 360 days, quarterly data from the Education Department showed this past week. That was up 6%, or 400,000 borrowers, from a year earlier. That translates into about 17% of all borrowers with federal loans being severely delinquent, a share that would be even higher if borrowers currently in school who aren’t yet required to repay were excluded. Millions of other borrowers are months behind but haven’t hit the 360-day threshold that the government defines as a default. Severe delinquencies are rising despite the sharp drop in unemployment over the past year and a big push by the Obama administration to enroll borrowers in programs that lower their monthly payments. Delinquencies on other types of debt such as credit cards and mortgages have fallen. And shorter-term defaults on student loans have declined over the past year. The latest figures highlight how student debt—which has tripled over the past decade to $1.19 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York—has quickly become a crushing burden for more Americans.”

IN ENDORSEMENT, WV DELEGATE CITES RUBIO’S FOCUS ON STUDENT DEBT AND REFORMING HIGHER ED: “West Virginia Delegate Danny Hamrick (R – Harrison, 48) is throwing his support behind Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio… Hamrick, born in 1988, is one of the youngest members of the House of Delegates. He believes that his generation will be able to really connect with Marco Rubio… The biggest issue Hamrick cited was Senator Rubio’s desire to reform the student loan process if he is elected. ‘For a lot of millenials and young Americans, there’s student loan debt and our higher ed system currently, and that’s something that he has a really good plan for,’ Hamrick said.” (WV Metro News, August 24, 2015)

WALKER ON IMPORTANCE OF 2-YEAR COLLEGES: At last week’s K-12 education forum in New Hampshire, “Walker said all students need to be lifted up, especially those who have skill sets – not just those wanting to be doctors or lawyers. ‘We need people who are prepared in all sorts of different careers,’ he explained. ‘The evolving number of careers … more often than not require a two year associate degree…and there’s great careers there.’ He added that this premise also helps combat increasing student debt.” (Breitbart, August 19, 2015)

SENATE SPECIAL–CANDIDATES RUNNING ON STUDENT DEBT: According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Russ Feingold has released the first advertisement of his 2016 campaign, in which he emphasizes his time spent listening to the economic concerns of Wisconsin families… Feingold also says in the ad that ‘people tell me it’s unfair that big corporations use bankruptcy laws to solve their financial problems while Washington won’t act to help families burdened by student loans.’”

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) said: “I have always supported efforts to make college more accessible and affordable for all Americans, and that’s why I’m encouraged by Hillary Clinton’s plan to make the steep cost of a college education more affordable. I have also heard from many Floridians — including friends my own age — who continue to struggle with existing student loan debt. In the Senate, I’ll never stop fighting to make debt-free college a reality and to significantly reduce the crippling burden of existing student debt for my generation and future generations.” (Tampa Bay Times, August 19, 2015)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A recent CNN/ORC poll found Clinton leading her Republican rivals among registered Millennial voters (18-34) by sizable margins. Here is how the candidates are matching up (MoE +/-7.5%):
Clinton 62, Bush 33 (margin swing since last CNN national poll in late July: Clinton +2%)
Clinton 61, Trump 36 (margin swing since last CNN national poll in late July: Trump +10%)
Clinton 64, Walker 34 (margin swing since last CNN national in late July: Walker +5%)
Clinton 65, Fiorina 31


Which Presidential Candidates are Best for College Diversity?, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Matthew Lynch

How to Help the Students with No Homes?, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kelly Field

How an App Helps Low-Income Students by Turning College Life Into a Game, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sarah Brown