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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 9, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 9, 2016)

Programming Note: With U.S. Senate elections moving into full swing, I am pleased to announce that in addition to our coverage of the race for the White House, we will now also be following the top Senate races in the country. Try to contain your excitement. Have friends on the campaign trail? Make sure they don’t miss a thing. Encourage them to sign up for updates here and follow us on Twitter at @YoungInvincible.

TRUMP RECORDS VIDEO DEFENDING TRUMP U, NAMING FORMER STUDENTS: According to the Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie: “Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Monday released a video in which he defends himself against fraud charges related to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. Formerly known as Trump University, the real estate investment seminar is facing multiple class-action lawsuits in different states from attendees who claim it was a scam. In the video, Trump reveals the full names of two former Trump University participants who say they were ripped off by the program. He holds up positive course evaluation forms he says they filled out. Trump adds that he’s ‘looking for’ a third program customer, presumably referring to a woman who also publicly has claimed she was scammed by Trump’s business. The men Trump mentions in his video both appeared in ads funded by the nonprofit American Future Fund.” Check out the video from the Trump campaign here.

TRUMP PROMISES TO RESTART TRUMP U: Speaking to supporters and the press Tuesday evening after his victories in Mississippi and Michigan, Mr. Trump — flanked by steaks, wine, water, and magazines — sought to defend his many brands that have faced increased scrutiny over the last few weeks. On Trump University, Mr. Trump pledged that after the lawsuits and if he is elected president, “Ivanka, Don, and Eric will restart Trump University in a heavy way.” (CSPAN, 3/8/16)

THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND PRAISES SANDERS’S FREE COLLEGE PLAN, SAYS CLINTON’S DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH: “‘A program like Sanders’s would ensure that blacks are less susceptible to getting caught up in a debt trap,’ said Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of economics and urban policy at the New School, who co-authored the paper with William Darity Jr. at Duke University and Mark Paul at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. While Hamilton said he is a Sanders supporter, Darity and Paul say they have not made up their minds yet. The authors say Sanders’s proposed interest rate reduction would save the average black bachelor’s degree holder $8,334 over the duration of their loan, a calculation derived from National Center for Education Statistics data on the average debt load and duration of repayment, which stands at roughly 21 years. Four out of five black graduates from public universities take out loans, compared with less than two-thirds of white graduates, according to liberal think tank Demos. Black students who borrow leave college with more debt than their peers. To be sure, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s college affordability plan, which the paper does not review, would also let borrowers lower the interest rate on their federal student loans to save money, a proposal championed by progressive leader Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The authors say Clinton’s plan fails to go far enough to reshape the vision for higher education.” (The Washington Post, 3/7/2015)

CLINTON FAULTS SANDERS’S COLLEGE PLAN ON COST CONTAINMENT: “The money that you will need will be provided if you cannot afford to go to college. And, right now, given the costs, that covers most people except wealthy people. What I am saying is that we will fund debt-free tuition. You won’t have to borrow money. It’s different from Senator Sanders in this regard, I think the costs are too high in college and university. Tuition has gone up 42 percent over the last 10 years. I don’t understand how that can be justified. So, when Senator Sanders says ‘free college’ with no pressure on the universities and college and the universities to lower their costs, I think that will only make it more expensive. So, I’m requiring that colleges and universities take a hard look at what they’re charging, and if it’s not related to a young person getting a degree that will lead to a job, don’t charge the student. You will not be able to do that.” (Fox News, 3/7/2016)

WHAT OHIO IS READING–TOLEDO BLADE EDITORIAL BOARD ON KASICH ADMINISTRATION, OHIO UNIVERSITY LEADERS STATE HIGHER ED REFORM PLAN: “Gov. John Kasich and the presidents of Ohio’s 14 public universities and 23 community colleges have worked together productively to make a college degree more attainable and affordable. Their efforts at efficiency don’t make up for the state’s disinvestment in aid to higher education in recent years, but the exercise is still useful. As part of its midterm review of the state’s two-year budget, the Kasich administration — collaborating with the Ohio Department of Higher Education — is offering several proposals to cut college costs and pass savings on to students. Most are promising; some seem more questionable.” Read the full editorial here.

FACT CHECKERS WEIGH IN ON TRUMP U: “With Trump University at the center of an ongoing scandal, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is finding himself on the defensive about the business venture. ‘We have a 98 percent approval rating, we have an A from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and people like it,’ Trump said at the GOP primary debate Thursday. … According to a PolitiFact investigation, the BBB had given Trump’s school ratings ranging from an A+ to D-. But the most recent rating recorded, in 2010, was a ‘D-’ rating.” (CBS News, 3/3/2016)

DESSERT– CRUZ DIPLOMA: “Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz created a Trump University ‘certificate of deception’ on Thursday, allowing opponents of the GOP frontrunner to personalize their own diploma from the controversial venture.” (TIME, 3/3/2016)


WISCONSIN: FEINGOLD PITCHES CAREER TECHNICAL ED AS PART OF “BADGER INNOVATION PLAN”: In a new video posted to the Feingold campaign’s YouTube account, the former Senator outlines his Badger Innovation Plan on workforce policy, saying the plan includes “investing in STEM education, promote apprenticeships, and make sure that career and technical education is available and affordable.”

OHIO: HIGHER ED FUNDING DEBATE: In a recent Students for Portman campaign video, an Ohio State University student named Joey says directly to the camera, “when Ted Strickland was Governor, he cut a lot of money from our universities and public colleges.”

NEVADA: CORTEZ MASTO NEGOTIATED $112 MILLION DEBT RELIEF PACKAGE FOR STUDENTS AT BANKRUPT FLIGHT SCHOOL: “A year after Silver State Helicopters declared bankruptcy — leaving its students with sky-high debt — a group of attorneys general are negotiating an agreement to partially erase their debt. Under the agreement,… Student Loan Express is expected to forgive a total of $112.7 million in debt for students who had private education loans to attend the defunct flight school, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said today. The Nevada Attorney General’s Office served on an executive committee that helped negotiate the agreement… At its peak, [Silver State Helicopters] operated 34 flight schools nationwide with a total of 2,700 students enrolled. Student Loan Express served as the preferred student lender for students attending Silver State Helicopters, offering $174 million to more than 2,300 students nationwide. When the school closed in February 2008, most students were left owing Student Loan Express substantial debts for training and certification they never received… More than half of the students who enrolled in the flight school never earned a certificate. Under the agreement, Student Loan Express will forgive 75 percent of the total amount borrowed by those students.” (Las Vegas Sun, 10/15/2009)

PENNSYLVANIA: MCGINTY VOWS TO TAKE ON HIGHER ED SYSTEM: “Katie McGinty, running in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate primary, [began] a sustained TV ad campaign [yesterday]. The campaign said the 30-second ad, titled ‘It’s Your Turn,’ [began] running in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.” In a statement about the ad, McGinty Communications Director Sabrina Singh said: “‘For our families burdened with student loans – it’s your turn for a fair shot.’… The campaign said it’s spending more than $1 million to air the ad through the April 26 primary… In her message, [McGinty] suggests that ‘special interests’ in Washington aren’t doing enough to… reduce the cost of college tuition.” (WFMZ & the AP, March 7, 2016) Check out the ad here.