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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 1, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 1, 2016)

It’s a quiet week on the Senate front, but yesterday’s release of Trump U recruitment documents is sure to keep the conversation about higher education and student debt in the news cycle this week. Share this week’s memo with your colleagues and friends, and sign up for updates here.

TRUMP UNIVERSITY MARKETING PLAYBOOK DOCS ARE RELEASED: “US district court judge Gonzalo Curiel on Tuesday made public more than 400 pages of Trump University ‘playbooks’ describing how Trump staff should target prospective students’ weaknesses to encourage them to sign up for a $34,995 Gold Elite three-day package … The documents contained an undated “personal message” from Trump to new enrollees at the school: ‘Only doers get rich. I know that in these three packed days, you will learn everything to make a million dollars within the next 12 months’… The playbook contains long sections telling Trump U team members how to identify buyers and push them to sign up for the most expensive package, and to put the cost on their credit cards.” (The Guardian, 5/31/2016)

TRUMP U SALESPEOPLE TARGETS: A look at material in the Playbook documents:
Trump U Playbook
CLINTON’S RESPONSE: As of 7am ET on 6/1/2016, none of Secretary Clinton’s social media accounts had posted about the release.

IN CNN INTERVIEW, TRUMP SPOX KATRINA PIERSON RESPONDS ON TRUMP U: In an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson hit back on Camerota’s suggestions that Trump University defrauded its students. “Trump University [was] classes being taught to people. It’s like saying, if you graduated from Harvard and you don’t have the same outcome in your profession as everyone else, then you should sue Harvard. And that’s just simply absurd… [The Trump University plaintiffs] wanted the equal outcomes, and you just can’t guarantee an outcome. And some of these people who were apart of this case have already given a glowing review of Trump University, so this will play out.”

CLINTON’S ARKANSAS SINGLE PARENT SCHOLARSHIP FUND IS BACKDROP FOR PROPOSED SPARK AWARD: “When she lost her job in 2014, Amanda Condon started thinking — again — about college. She had enrolled once before … [a]t 20, she had two children, a $600 monthly child-care bill, and a full-time job to pay for it … ‘It didn’t take long,’ she said, ‘before I was called into my employer’s office and told that I would have to choose.’ In 2014, at 27, it was time to try again …. She was an unemployed single mother, and her children — she had three now — were 9, 7 and 2. …She applied to the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund… The program provides discretionary aid to low-income parents who have primary custody of their children. .. This summer, at 29, she will graduate — debt-free — with an associate degree in emergency management. The scholarship program started in 1990… Hillary Clinton, then the first lady of Arkansas, helped get the program off the ground … Now, the Democratic front-runner says the Arkansas program is the inspiration for a nationwide initiative that she’s proposed: Student Parents in America Raising Kids, or SPARK, would award up to a million student parents as much as $1,500 per year for expenses like child care and transportation. The scholarships would be paid for with part of the $350 billion set aside in her New College Compact.” (Inside Higher Ed, 5/27/2016)

ATTORNEY REQUESTS DOCUMENTS ON BURLINGTON COLLEGE LOAN: A letter from attorney Brady Toensing to Senator Bernie Sanders requests documents relating to the acquisition of a loan by then-Burlington College President Jane Sanders. In the letter, Toensing notes that Senate ethics rules prevent senators from intervening in the acquisition of a loan by a family member. Check out the full letter here.


NEW HAMPSHIRE–HASSAN PENS OP-ED COVERING PLANS AROUND VETERANS’ EDUCATION: In a Union-Leader op-ed, Governor Maggie Hassan writes: “As senator, I will also work to improve veterans’ education, and will fight to protect veterans from the questionable practices of some for-profit colleges, provide assistance and support for veterans on college campuses and protect and enhance G.I. benefits.”

WISCONSIN–FEINGOLD LAUNCHES “HUMANS OF NEW YORK”-THEMED STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN: “… Sen. Russ Feingold’s campaign will share stories this week of borrowers who say they would be helped by a policy that would allow them to refinance their loans. Modeled loosely after the popular ‘Humans of New York’ series, the social media campaign will feature photos and short vignettes from University of Wisconsin students and graduates. The campaign aims to illustrate the stark difference in opinion between Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson when it comes to addressing college affordability. Johnson opposes the refinancing proposal, arguing instead that the federal government should avoid involvement in college financing…”. (The Capital Times, 5/31/2016)

EDITOR’S NOTE: In last week’s Memo, I noted that a Clinton campaign blog post on the New College Compact plan had been taken down. I was informed later that the original blog post’s content was republished under a new title with a different URL. Apologies for any confusion.