Young Invincibles’ Statement on NY Governor Cuomo’s Announcement of Tuition Free Plan


January 3rd, 2016

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

[New York] – Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Excelsior Scholarship program to provide free tuition to roughly 940,000 New York State residents who make less than $125,000 and attend a SUNY or CUNY school full-time.

Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“After years of tuition hikes and structural disinvestment to New York State’s two public university systems, students are excited that increased state resources are going to help them access more affordable public higher education. This is a positive step forward, and we’re hopeful that this commitment to investing in the education of young adults will be extended to even more students, including part-time and immigrant students.

We look forward to continuing the conversation with the Governor and the legislature to ensure that, in addition to covering tuition costs, resources are available to help students who are struggling to pay for other expenses associated with earning degree such as child care, housing, transportation, and more. Non-tuition expenses make up the majority of the full cost of attending 4-year and 2-year public institutions.

It is critical that any proposal to make tuition free comes with a commitment from state lawmakers to also fully fund CUNY and SUNY so they can provide the high quality public higher education New Yorkers need to succeed in our workforce.”

Young Invincibles is a Steering Committee member of the CUNY Rising Alliance.

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Why We Need to Support Our Undocumented Students


This month we celebrate Latinos in the United States and abroad, we celebrate their contributions, their traditions and their culture. Rather than talking about exquisite food, about the rhythm in our music and dances or the resilience and victories of Latino gente, I want to focus our attention to a specific group: the undocumented community, specifically undocumented students.

I came to the United States from Mexico in 2009, with a tourist visa which allowed me to stay for six months. But soon after my arrival, due to members of my family being deported and consequences that followed I became homeless. Unable to turn to other family members for shelter, I went from one friend to the other, staying on their couches one week and on floor the next. I felt hopeless and alone, and the only family that I knew were thousands of miles away. At one point, I slept on a comfortable couch inside of the printing room of my high school, where no one visited after hours. My friends soon alerted my teachers, and I was paired to stay with a loving family. Although my earliest experiences in the U.S. were rough, I turned it around over the next two years. I was working a full time job, I spoke English fluently, and was a high school senior with a 3.9 GPA. I was even elected Student Body President.

However, the amount of work I put in for years felt worthless the day I walked into my counselor’s office and she explained that because I was an ” an illegal alien” it was likely that I could not go to college. As result of policies passed in Georgia months before my graduation, I was now specifically prohibited from applying to certain colleges, including my dream university, at the time, The University of Georgia. Among colleges I could attend, I would have to pay three times the cost as my U.S.-born classmates–a fee I simply couldn’t afford.

I refused to end my quest to attend college there. I knew there were more students like me, hungry for a higher education, but held back by their status. I became an activist in my community, and spent years chanting on the streets, leading protests and even going to jail protesting policies that targeted undocumented students. I also never stopped applying for schools, and was determined to find an education that embraced my potential despite my status. And then I found one: I received a letter of acceptance to Hampshire College, far from my new home in Georgia, with a full scholarship.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities my college opened up to me, but I am also very aware of the injustices that undocumented students face. Unlike myself, most undocumented students don’t end up attending college. They are caught in a cycle that few can escape, as most states require students to pay the steep cost of out-of-state tuition. This ignores the fact that undocumented students have lived in the same state for most of their lives. It dismisses their struggle to have navigated the entire education system, from kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school only to be effectively shut out of higher education through the cost of college.

Few acknowledge that many universities rely on on undocumented immigrant labor. Moreover, undocumented immigrants pay local, state and federal taxes that help keep public universities running. It is shameful to realize that undocumented immigrants who came with a dream to this country, who helped construct prestigious universities from Ivy League schools to private colleges to public colleges such as the University of Georgia today, cannot see their sons and daughters get an education at the very institutions they built.

As we get ready to celebrate the contributions of Latinos, let’s not forget how much the country they love and call home still owes them, how much it owes their children. Every year about 65,000 students learn of their undocumented status, often through their applications to college, and only 10 percent of these students end up going to college right out of high school. I was one of the 90 percent of students who were rejected as result of my undocumented status. But like me, thousands of those students will try again and again and will keep at it until they can attend a college, thanks to the support of allies like teachers, college admission officers, and advocates.

You can enjoy the food, the dance and the music of a community, but if you don’t stand with us and fight for us during hard times, you are not honoring our contributions or our experiences. Celebrating a community requires you to invest in it, to cultivate it, to carry it and to feel pain for it. There are few better ways to celebrate the Latino community than by advocating for access to education for all undocumented students.

Eduardo Samaniego studies Constitutional Law and Education Policy and is currently Student Trustee at Hampshire College.

Por Qué Necesitamos para Apoyar a los Estudiantes Indocumentados

Este mes celebramos la gente Latinx en los Estados Unidos y en el extranjero, celebramos sus aportaciones, sus tradiciones y su cultura. En lugar de hablar de la exquisita comida, sobre el ritmo de nuestra música y los bailes típicos, o la capacidad de resistencia y victorias de gente Latinx, quiero centrar nuestra atención en un grupo específico: la comunidad indocumentada, más específicamente, en los estudiantes indocumentados.

Mi historia comenzó cuando vine a los Estados Unidos desde México en 2009, con una visa de turista que me permitió quedarme durante seis meses. Sin embargo, poco después de mi llegada, como resultado de deportaciones de mis familiares y eventos consecuentes me quede sin un lugar en donde vivir. No pude recurrir a otros miembros de mi familia en busca de refugio y fue asi como fui de un amigo a otro, durmiendo en sus sofás por una semana y en el piso de algún otro amigo la siguiente. Me sentía desesperado y solo, y la única familia que conocía, ahora estaban a miles de millas de distancia. Mi situación empeoró y eventualmente llego el dia en el que no tenía otro lugar a donde ir y tuve que dormir en un sofá en el interior de la sala de impresoras de mi escuela secundaria, donde nadie visitaba después de horas. Mis amigos se dieron cuenta y pronto alertaron a mis maestros, quienes al saber de mi situación encontraron una familia bondadosa quienes me ofrecieron refugio . A pesar de que mis primeras experiencias en los EE.UU. fueron ásperas y desafortunadas, poco a poco mi vida fue mejorando. Obtuve un trabaja de tiempo completo, aprendí a hablar Inglés con fluidez, y era un estudiante de secundaria con un promedio de 3.9, Incluso fui electo Presidente de la Asociación Estudiantil de North Cobb High School.

Sin embargo, la cantidad de trabajo que puse y el empeño demostrado durante años fue completamente devaluado el día que entré en el despacho de mi consejero y ella explicó que debido a que era un “extranjero ilegal” era muy improbable que pudiera ir a la universidad. Como resultado de las políticas aprobadas en Georgia meses antes de mi graduación, ahora estaba específicamente prohibido el que yo pudiera aplicar a ciertos universidades, incluyendo la universidad con la que yo soñaba, la Universidad de Georgia. Entre las universidades que podría haber asistido, ahora tendría que pagar tres veces mas por el costo de una clase en comparación a lo que mis compañeros de clase, nacidos en los Estados Unidos tenían que pagar – una cantidad de dinero que francamente inalcanzable.

Aun así, me negué a poner fin a mi búsqueda para asistir a la universidad. Yo sabía que había más estudiantes como yo, merecedores de una educación superior, pero frenados por su estatus inmigratorio. Me convertí en un activista en mi comunidad, y pasé años organizando eventos y protestas, incluso fui a la cárcel protestando las políticas que prohíben a los estudiantes indocumentados el acceso a la universidad. También, nunca deje de mandar aplicaciones a universidades, yo estaba decidido a encontrar una puerta habiera. Eventualmente, después de no haber tenido hogar por un tiempo, después de poner el empeño para aprender ingles, después de haber sido rechazado múltiples veces y después de haber luchado por años, un día, finalmente recibí una carta por la que había esperado tanto, una carta de aceptación a la universidad de Hampshire, aunque lejos de mi hogar en Georgia, finalmente obtendrían la educación por la que había luchado tanto, la universidad de Hampshire me ofreció una beca completa.

Hoy estoy muy agradecido por las oportunidades que mi universidad me abrió, pero también estoy muy consciente de las injusticias que aun enfrentan el resto de los estudiantes indocumentados. A diferencia de mí, la mayoría de estudiantes indocumentados no atenderán la universidad. Ellos están atrapados en un ciclo que pocos pueden escapar ya que la mayoría de Estados requiere que estudiantes indocumentados paguen el costo de la universidad como estudiantes internacionales. Esto ignora el hecho de que los estudiantes indocumentados han vivido en el mismo Estado durante la mayor parte de sus vidas. Esto desestima su lucha para haber navegado todo el sistema educativo en los Estados Unidos, desde el kindergarten, la escuela primaria y preparatoria sólo para cerrarles las puertas a la educación superior a través del costo de la universidad.

Pocos reconocen que muchas universidades se basan en mano de obra de inmigrantes indocumentados para ser construidas. Por otra parte, los inmigrantes indocumentados pagan impuestos locales, estatales y federales que ayudan a mantener las universidades públicas y privadas. Es extremadamente injusto el reconocer que inmigrantes indocumentados vienen a este país, ayudan a construir universidades de prestigio desde las escuelas “Ivy League,” las universidades privadas y las universidades públicas como la Universidad de Georgia, para luego no poder ver a sus hijos e hijas recibir una educación en estos mismos colegios y universidades que con sus propias manos ellos ayudaron a construir.

A medida que nos preparamos para celebrar las contribuciones de gente Latinx, no nos olvidemos de lo mucho que este país que llamamos hogar todavía nos debe. Cada año cerca de 65, 000 estudiantes van a aprender de su condición como inmigrantes indocumentados, a menudo a través de sus aplicaciones a la universidad, y sólo el 10 por ciento de estos estudiantes terminan yendo a la universidad al salir de la escuela. Yo estuve entre el 90 por ciento de los estudiantes que fueron rechazados como resultado de mi estatus migratorio. Pero como yo, miles de esos estudiantes van a tratar, una y otra vez, y van a continuar trabajando hasta que puedan asistir a la universidad, gracias al apoyo de aliados como maestros, oficiales de admisión a la universidad, y defensores de los derechos del inmigrante.

Todos puede disfrutar de la comida, el baile y la música de la comunidad Latina, pero si no se unen a nosotros y luchan por nosotros durante los tiempos difíciles, no están honrando nuestras tradiciones, contribuciones, experiencias o nuestras vidas. Para celebrar una comunidad se requiere invertir en ella, se requiere cultivarla, se requiere luchar por ella y se requiere sentir el dolor de los miembros de esta comunidad. Hay muchas maneras de celebrar la comunidad Latinx pero pocas son mejores que el unirse a la batalla por el acceso a educación superior para todos los estudiantes indocumentados.

Eduardo Samaniego estudia Derecho Constitucional y Política de Educación y es actualmente Representante de la Universidad de Hampshire.

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Expand Higher Ed Access, Beginning with FAFSA

I am one of the millions of undergraduate and graduate students who sought federal aid to attend school by filing out the FAFSA this year. I’ve filled out the FAFSA several times, and as a current J.D./M.A. student, filling out the FAFSA every year usually falls to the bottom of my task list and always encourages a few choice words. Not only is answering over 100 questions time consuming, but the questions themselves are often complex. Moreover from my perspective, annually completing the FAFSA seems increasingly unnecessary considering the only thing that has consistently changed in my life in the past six years is my address and my increasing student loan debt.

Unfortunately, the FAFSA is not only a laborious task for current undergraduate and graduate students – the complexity actually deters high school graduates from applying for the federal aid that would help them achieve a post-secondary degree.$2.7 billion in free federal grant money was left on the table this past school year largely due to incomplete FAFSA forms.

Some improvements have been made to lessen the burden for the 99 percent of applicants who have access to a computer. Advances in online “skip logic” reduce the number of questions posed to online applicants down to 61 questionson average. But those individuals and families without easy access to a computer or the Internet don’t reap the benefit of a shorter form, and they are left to submit a paper application with 108 questions (on six pages accompanied by four pages of instructions) that elicit 142 responses. The  ordeal of actually applying, on top of a lack of transparency around how much aid is even potentially available, often ends up hitting students from underserved communities the hardest, those who would benefit most from the aid. Approximately two million Pell Grant eligible students did not file a FAFSA in the 2011-2012 academic year.

The current administration has taken some action to update and improve the FAFSA process, including moving up the application start date to help high school graduates be more informed about available aid prior to typical college application deadlines; expanding usage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to electronically transfer tax information to their online FAFSA; and allowing students and families to use tax information from two years ago, or Prior-Prior Year (PPY). But more needs to be done. First, Congress needs to codify these improvements, or we risk leaving them at the mercy of the next administration to eliminate. Additionally, further improvements need to be made to the questions themselves, not only to reduce the number, but also to actually use those questions to more informatively and effectively distribute aid based on an applicant’s financial capability, rather than a confusing expected family contribution metric.

The federal system for distributing student financial aid has been described as rivaling the complexity of the U.S. tax code. The convoluted FAFSA application has implications beyond deterring potential students from applying and stealing precious studying time from current students. The difficulty also costs colleges, who spent an estimated $432 million to verify FAFSA information in 2009. It would appear the current FAFSA application has high costs for all stakeholders, while failing to serve the applicants that need it most. If we are committed to expanding access to higher education and creating a more equitable system, we need to make the process for beginning and continuing education more achievable for those who need aid the most.

Kaile Sepnafski is a former Young Invincibles Fellow.

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ITT Technical Institute Closes, Impacting the Futures of 40,000 Students

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech) announced that it is closing all of its campuses in light of consumer protections implemented by the Department of Education prohibiting the institution from accessing federal financial aid programs when enrolling students. ITT Tech’s fraudulent and predatory business practices had resulted in lawsuits and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 13 state Attorneys General. Rather than adjust their model to address the various problems reported by students across the country, ITT Tech decided to close. This decision will have a major impact on the approximately 40,000 students across the country currently enrolled at the chain of schools, who are now left to forge a new educational path, and make some difficult decisions whether to pursue discharge for their loans and restart their education, or to transfer their credits to a new school.

Christopher Nellum, Young Invincibles’ Policy Director, issued the following statement: “The actions by the Department were an important step toward holding predatory schools accountable and preventing them from irresponsibly using students’ and taxpayers’ money without providing quality educational programs. While the closure will prevent further enrollment in ITT Tech, it’s important to remember that dedicated students trying to complete their degrees now must navigate the shutdown. We must make sure that those students who have been poorly served by ITT Tech are not saddled with debt they cannot repay and are not halted in their goal of getting a postsecondary education.

We are pleased to see the Department of Education has outlined possible paths for students, and we encourage them to make the applications for closed school discharges and the information about possible credit transfers and other local institutional options more widely available. We also renew a call for Congress to pass legislation to reinstate each student’s Pell Grant eligibility and, if applicable, G.I. Bill eligibility in situations like this, so that students can get a truly clean slate. Finally, we hope that increased data and transparency in our higher education system will ensure students’ and taxpayers’ money is protected from unscrupulous actors in higher education.”

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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 22, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 22, 2016)

Happy hump day, Memo readers! Welcome to summer: when DC heat becomes oppressive and seasonal showers result in flooded metro stations. With just 25 days until Cleveland and 32 days until Philadelphia, veep scouting is well under way. In this week’s memo, 2 Clinton camp VP shortlisters are flexing their muscles to take on failing for-profit colleges. Find out who below. Please share this week’s edition and encourage your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and campaign staff to sign up for Millennial Memo.

CANDIDATE QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How would you ensure greater quality in America’s higher education system?

CLINTON CAMP PREVIEWS MILLENNIAL VOTER OUTREACH: “Clinton’s allies in the environmental, labor and women’s health communities are tapping into the same data, digital and other messaging tactics that Sanders used to such great effect in galvanizing millions of millennial supporters… [As for herself, Clinton’s] aides say she’ll embrace her age – 68, which is actually two years younger than Trump — and inner policy wonk. ‘She doesn’t need to be cool. She just needs to be who she is,’ said Sarah Audelo, the Clinton campaign’s youth vote director. ‘That’s what young people are interested in. Young people want authenticity.’ …The Clinton youth vote gameplan includes targeting different subgroups of the millennial generation on their own turf. High school students who will be 18 by Election Day can expect to get their own special pitch. Different messages will be directed at college students, young professionals just getting started in their careers and older millennials who have started families. Clinton’s youth-vote staffers are planning to take a listening tour of college campuses and other places where millennials work and congregate.” (Politico, June 20, 2016)
COLLEGE RNC CHAIR SAYS HIGHER ED MESSAGE AND PLAN WILL BE IMPERATIVE FOR TRUMP TO REACH MILLENNIALS: “Alexandra Smith, chair of the College Republican National Committee told NBC News conservative students were not swayed by radical education reform. ‘The good news for Republicans is that our research showed that young voters, and especially young independents, were not lured in by false promises of ‘free college,’’ Smith said. ‘Instead, these voters expressed a desire for candidates to propose solutions focused on finding new ways to pay for college as opposed to government just footing the bill.’ Yet, even Smith noted the importance of Trump highlighting education reform policies in order to sway young voters. ‘In the general election, it will be imperative that he bring that message and plan to campus this fall to reach young people.’” (NBC News, June 17, 2016)

SANDERS WON MORE YOUTH VOTES THAN CLINTON AND TRUMP COMBINED: “In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.
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The above chart comes from a report by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. It shows more than 2 million young people cast ballots for Sanders in the 21 states that voted by June 1 and where exit polls included data on the youth vote. Clinton and Donald Trump combined? Less than 1.6 million. Sanders, in fact, won about 29 percent more votes among those under the age of 30.” (Washington Post, June 20, 2016)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: “Clinton, in [last] week’s Bloomberg Politics national survey, enjoys a lead of 3 to 1 among likely voters aged 18 to 29, and more than a 3-to-2 advantage among 30- to 39-year-olds. These millennials still aren’t wild about the presumptive Democratic nominee. Her favorable ratings are far below Barack Obama’s. But Trump’s negatives are stunning: Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 83 percent have an unfavorable view of him… In the Selzer survey, more than three quarters of older Americans say they are likely to vote in November. Only 54 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 69 percent of the older millennials say the same. If this holds, it means turnout among the younger millennials would drop sharply from 2012, when they made up 19 percent of the whole electorate. That provides a challenge for the Clinton campaign. … Gary Johnson… gets about one in six millennials, twice the support he has from older voters.” (Bloomberg, June 15, 2016)

FAFSA SUBMITS ON THE DECLINE: “A trove of data released this week by the Department of Education shows fewer high school seniors are turning in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) than last year. As of June 3, submissions among high school seniors nationwide were down 4 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Although the department did not make national completion data available, officials suspect the decline is even higher as students often fail to fix mistakes after submitting the form. Between 9 percent and 10 percent of submitted FAFSA applications have not been completed in the last four years, according to the department.” (Washington Post, June 17, 2016)


BROWN PUSHING TO BAR FOR-PROFITS FROM MILITARY BASES: “The Senate [last] Tuesday approved a massive defense policy bill that includes Sen. Joe Manchin’s provision easing for-profit colleges’ access to military bases. The bill passed without the compromise language Manchin’s office said he had worked out with fellow Democrats who were strongly opposed to his amendment. The compromise version of the provision was the victim of a larger political fight… Manchin’s office tells [Politico that] he still believes the compromise language will be added during the conference committee… But there are already signs there could be a fight ahead. A spokeswoman for Sen. Sherrod Brown said he appreciates Manchin’s work on the issue but that Brown doesn’t believe ‘predatory for-profit colleges should be allowed on base where military members live and work in any capacity, and he will continue working to get the provision removed in conference.’” (Politico, June 15, 2016)

FOLLOWING WARREN’S CALL, DEPT OF ED SEEKS TO CURB POWER OF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE ACCREDITING BODY: “In a devastating 29-page report issued Wednesday, officials with the Department of Education find the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) failed to adequately comply with 21 different federal standards for accreditors. In response, the report recommends revoking ACICS’s status as an accreditor, which would effectively force it to shut down. Colleges must be accredited by a federally-recognized accreditor to receive federal student loans. If ACICS is shut down, then 243 schools with about 900 total campuses could lose their access to federal money if they are not quickly accredited by a different organization. Currently, those schools receive about $5 billion in student loans per year… ACICS has recently been in the crosshairs of lawmakers such as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who accuse it of providing lax oversight and allowing shady for-profit schools to repeatedly deceive and defraud students into spending thousands of dollars on low-value degrees.” (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2016)


PENNSYLVANIA–TOOMEY AND YORKTOWN U: Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) “is expected to get the Trump U treatment over his dealings with Yorktown University, a for-profit college that has been criticized for its lack of accreditation, questionable academic offerings and marketing to veterans who can receive government tuition aid. Toomey is an investor in the online program, served on its boards and agreed to appear in its marketing materials. Toomey’s campaign spokesman said the Senator was never a day-to-day player with the programs and argued that anyone trying to make Yorktown an issue is desperate… Yorktown pushed an online curriculum that was conservative and at times out of step with mainstream academic requirements… But the program never really took off. Its shaky finances and lack of accreditation prompted Colorado to ban Yorktown from offering degrees, forcing it to relocate to Florida, though the program still qualified for veterans to use G.I. Bill benefits. Toomey’s involvement with Yorktown came between his departure from the U.S. House after the 2004 elections and his election to the Senate in 2010. Tommey served on the school’s boards. His staff says the relationship was minor. ‘Many years ago, Senator Toomey was approached by an acquaintance about a new effort he was starting,’ Toomey communications director Ted Kwong tells TIME. ‘The Senator made a small contribution and lent his name to the organization, but that was the extent of his minimal involvement.’” (Time, June 20, 2016)

PENNSYLVANIA–McGINTY RESPONDS ON TOOMEY’S YORKTOWN CONNECTIONS: “Today, Katie McGinty, candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement after a TIME Magazine report revealed Senator Pat Toomey’s deep ties to Yorktown University, a scam, Trump University-style organization. Toomey is currently backing a bill that would make it easier for for-profit schools to target students, including veterans. ‘The TIME magazine story about Senator Toomey’s extensive ties with Yorktown University, a Trump University-style scam with ‘questionable academic offerings,’ is truly disturbing,’ said Katie McGinty.  ‘Pat Toomey needs to explain why he’s affiliated with something like this while also pushing legislation that would help shady for-profit schools continue to target students.’” (Katie McGinty for Senate, June 21, 2016)

NEW HAMPSHIRE–PRO-HASSAN LTE TARGETS AYOTTE ON STUDENT LOAN BILL: In a letter to the editor of the NH Union Leader, Hassan supporter Jessica Lu writes: “New Hampshire students who take the initiative to seek out higher education should not have to assume mountains of debt in order to obtain a degree and improve their future job prospects, and for the sake of students like me and our futures, the choice in New Hampshire’s upcoming senatorial race is clear. Sen. Kelly Ayotte appears to care little about investing in our futures. Instead of voting for an amendment that would have allowed students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, she introduced a sham student loan bill that many called ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ and ‘a handout to the loan industry.’ In contrast, Gov. Maggie Hassan has worked tirelessly throughout her career to make life easier for New Hampshire students by freezing tuition at state colleges. And at community colleges, tuition even went down.” (Union Leader, June 16, 2016)

IOWA–JUDGE’S CAMPAIGN WEBSITE ISSUES PAGE DETAILS HER HIGHER ED AGENDA: “Patty will be an advocate for increased access to Pell Grants, allowing graduates to refinance student loans at lower interest rates (an effort Chuck Grassley has opposed), and supports two years of free tuition at community colleges for students who maintain high academic standards.” (

IOWA–GRASSLEY SAYS CITES COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY AS AREA OF FOCUS IF HE IS RE-ELECTED: “Grassley outlined college affordability and ag and energy policy as particular areas of focus should he be re-elected, saying he would work to ensure access to Pell grants and work-study programs for students and to maintain incentive programs for alternative energy production.” (The Des Moines Register, June 8, 2016)
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 15, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 15, 2016)

Hope you all are making it through this tough week okay — I know it’s been a sad one. Please find this week’s edition of Millennial Memo below. Stay in the know by signing up for updates here, and follow us on Twitter at @YoungInvincible.

VEEP WATCH–WARREN CALLS FOR STRIPPING FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE ACCREDITOR OF ITS AUTHORITY: Senator Elizabeth “Warren is calling on an advisory board at the Department of Education to deny the [Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools] agency the recognition it needs from the department to do its job, a request that has the backing of consumer advocates and at least 13 state attorneys general. The board… is slated to meet later this month to decide the council’s future… Warren wrote in a letter to Education Secretary John B. King Jr. and Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. ‘ … I urge the department to … take strong, aggressive action to hold ACICS accountable for its dismal record of failure.’ The council, which accredits more than 800 college campuses, gained notoriety for claiming Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit chain that state and federal authorities accused of lying to students and committing fraud, was in good enough standing to continue to receive billions of dollars in taxpayer funds… Ben Miller, senior director for post-secondary education at CAP, found that more than half of the $5.7 billion in federal student aid awarded to ACICS-approved schools in the past three years went to institutions facing some sort of state or federal investigation.” (The Washington Post, 6/10/2016)

CLINTON CAMPAIGN STAFFS UP ON MILLENNIAL OUTREACH, PLANS YOUNG VOTER LISTENING TOUR: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign, looking to shore up support with millennials, has hired Bernie Sanders’ national campus and student organizing director, according to a Clinton aide. The move comes as the Clinton campaign launches her new “millennial engagement” program, an initiative that will look to help Clinton with a demographic that overwhelmingly tilted toward the Vermont senator during the primary. Kunoor Ojha, the former Sanders aide, will serve as the Clinton campaign’s national campus and student organizing director, tasked with listening to young voters and convincing them to back Clinton. This is the Clinton campaign’s first major hire from the Sanders campaign. Anne Hubert, a former Viacom senior vice president, will lead the millennial outreach effort. Sarah Audelo, former political director at Rock the Vote, will be Clinton’s youth vote director. ‘The team will travel the country and listen directly to millennial voters — including students, parents, workers, and organizers — to ensure that they have the voice at the table and that the campaign is addressing the issues that matter most,’ a Clinton aide said. ‘They will also serve as a resource for state teams to ensure that every state has an aggressive program to reach millennial voters.’” (CNN, 6/10/2016)

SIREN–ALARMING POLL RESULTS ON STUDENT DEBT & HOMEOWNERSHIP: “The National Association of Realtors joined with the nonprofit American Student Assistance to conduct a survey of only those student loan borrowers who are current in their repayments and therefore mostly likely to be financially ready to make a home purchase. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said their student loan debt is delaying them from buying a home. More than half said they expect that delay to last longer than five years… Forty-three percent of those polled carried between $10,001 and $40,000 in student debt, while 38 percent owed $50,000 or more. The most common debt burden was between $20,000 and $30,000. Because of their student debt, 69 percent said they don’t feel financially secure enough to buy a home, while 80 percent said they can’t save for a down payment. Student loan debt isn’t just affecting first-time buyers, although that group’s participation in the housing market is at historically low levels… Nearly a third of those surveyed who are current homeowners said they can’t afford sell their current home and buy another one because of student loan debt.” (The Washington Post, 6/13/2016)

SENATE APPROPS RESTORES YEAR-ROUND PELL, SLIGHTLY ADJUSTS MAX GRANT AWARD: “The full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would reinstate year-round Pell Grants for low-income students and provide a $2 billion boost for the National Institutes of Health. The 2017 appropriations bill for the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services would increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,935 and once again allow students to receive the grants in the summer, a benefit that was eliminated in 2011 amid a spike in the program’s costs.” (Inside Higher Ed, 6/10/2016)


OBAMA ADMIN RELEASES DRAFT RULE TO CHANGE CURRENT STUDENT DEBT FORGIVENESS RULES: “Students will have a clearer path to loan forgiveness if they are defrauded or misled by their colleges, according to rules issued Monday by the Obama administration, which also create a financial backstop to ensure that schools, not taxpayers, are responsible for the debt. As it stands, students can apply to have their federal loans discharged if they can prove a school used illegal or deceptive tactics in violation of state law to persuade them to borrow money for college. Now the department is outlining a set of violations that would make borrowers eligible for loan forgiveness. Chief among them is a breach of contract as well as a state or federal court judgement against a school related to the loan or the educational services for which the loan was made. The government would also consider wiping away debt in the event of a ‘substantial misrepresentation’ by the school about the nature of the program, financial charges or the chance graduates have of finding work, according to the proposal. According to the department, the proposed regulation would have an annual budget impact of anywhere from $199 million to $4.2 billion. Department officials are aiming to have the rule in place by November 2016, which means it would take effect the following July.” (The Washington Post, 6/13/2016)


COLORADO–GRAHAM BLAMES DECREASED STATE INVESTMENT IN HIGHER ED ON MEDICAID: Speaking at an Americans for Prosperity forum in Broomfield, Colorado last Friday, former CSU Athletic Director and candidate for U.S. Senate Jack Graham said: “I experienced the consequences of the never ending expansion of Medicaid when I was at Colorado State University and I saw the increased cost of in-state tuition to our students, because as Medicaid expanded, it consumed budgetary dollars under the TABOR limits that were no longer available to higher education — to students going to Colorado State University — and as a result of that, tuition levels go up and with that goes increased levels of student debt.”

COLORADO–BLAHA ENCOURAGES BORROWERS TO SHOP AROUND IN PRIVATE MARKET: Speaking at a GOP Senate Primary debate at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs last week, Robert Blaha said: “I think the solution is actually quite simple. The solution is we let the free market come in. We let students take those products and services to the free market just like all of us do for mortgages… This [increased] competition will drive prices down.”

COLORADO–KEYSER PUSHES BACK ON REFINANCING IN THE PRIVATE MARKET: At a GOP Senate Primary debate at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs last week, Jon Keyser said: “The problem is actually something that me and my wife felt… Frankly, it’s tough to have the credit rating to be able to refinance in the private sector. And that is a risk that you take, because when you get that loan from the government you have forbearance and some other things that come along with that. So students sometimes have to take a risk to privatize to refinance their student loans, but it’s difficult because unless you have a high enough credit score and earn enough right out of college, you’re not going to be able to find somebody to lend you that money.”

COLORADO–GOP CANDIDATES RESPOND ON HIGHER ED REFORM QUESTIONS: GOP Senate primary candidates were asked a number of rapid fire questions about where they stand on everything from student loan forgiveness programs, student loan refinancing, and the federal government’s role in regulating higher education. Listen here..

NEW HAMPSHIRE–HASSAN UNVEILS “NH 2.0 PLAN”, INCLUDES HIGHER ED & WORKFORCE INITIATIVES: Late last week, the Hassan campaign unveiled its NH 2.0 plan on innovation and middle class economic opportunity. Included in the plan are a number of higher education reform ideas. Governor Hassan states that she “will fight to help these borrowers by allowing them to refinance their loans at today’s lower interest rates, a move that could benefit an estimated 129,000 Granite Staters. She will also work to cut interest rates for new student loans to stop the federal government from profiting off of this debt. And she will make it easier for borrowers to enroll in income-based repayment programs that cap their monthly payments and allow borrowers to pause repayments as they transition to high-need careers or start new businesses… She will… [work] to expand Pell Grants, consolidating and expanding tax incentives to help students and families save and pay for college, encouraging schools to experiment with ways of lowering the cost of delivering high-quality higher education and fighting to achieve debt-free public college for all families… Maggie will… [support] bipartisan efforts to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and use the Department of Education’s new college scorecards to help students and families get the information they need to compare schools and make smart choices… [Governor Hassan] will [support] bipartisan efforts to expand apprenticeship opportunities and by making federal higher education grants and loans more flexible to enable adult workers to learn new skills.” (, Innovate NH 2.0)

NEW HAMPSHIRE–PRO-AYOTTE STUDENT DEBT LTE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES WITH PIECE FROM FMR UNH COLLEGE GOP PRES: In a letter to the editor of the Union-Leader, former UNH College Republicans president Philip Boynton writes: “I applaud the work Kelly Ayotte did to get bipartisan student loan reform off the ground! Too many senators are afraid to reach across the aisle, but not Kelly Ayotte. Time and again, she has proven to be an independent leader. Thanks to this kind of leadership, more students will have many opportunities to go to college and do so with less debt. College isn’t cheap, and working across the aisle isn’t easy, but Sen. Ayotte has managed to lead an important step toward making college more affordable and do so in a bipartisan way. We’d be fortunate to have more senators like Kelly Ayotte that lead in an independent way.”

NORTH CAROLINA–ROSS CALLS FOR FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE & BAN THE BOX-STYLE APPROACH TO EMPLOYMENT FOR FELONS TRANSITIONING BACK TO THE WORKFORCE: “During her Monday event Ross took suggestions about important economic issues and answered questions from the group of attendees. Ross expressed support for free community college ‘if kids do well in school.’ In certain sectors where safety wouldn’t be a concern, Ross said felons should be able to apply for jobs without crimes counting against them. ‘If we want to prevent people from committing other crimes, we need to have a robust re-entry program,’ she said.” (Salisbury Post, 6/14/2016)

(Source: Richard Burr’s Twitter Account, 6/13/2016)
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (May 25, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (May 25, 2016)

Good Wednesday morning, everyone. With a recent poll showing Libertarian party candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM), surging into double digits in a Clinton versus Trump matchup — meaning we may see him on the debate stage this fall, here’s a look at where the candidate has stood on higher education issues in the past. With the poll finding nearly 1 in 5 young voters saying they would vote for Governor Johnson, will they appreciate his views on student debt? We’ll see.

We’re 53 days away from the RNC, 60 days away from the DNC, and 166 days away from Election Day. Share this week’s roundup with your friends and colleagues, and sign up for updates here.

IN 2012, JOHNSON SAID “MY PLANS DON’T INCLUDE DOING ANYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO STUDENT LOANS”: In a virtual Q&A chat with a young person during his 2012 campaign, former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson said, “my plans don’t include doing anything when it comes to student loans.” Governor Johnson then goes on to blame high tuition prices because the government guarantees student loans. Watch the full clip here.

ELIMINATING THE DEPT OF EDUCATION IS THE BEST THING THE FEDERAL GOVT CAN DO TO IMPROVE EDUCATION, SAYS JOHNSON: Speaking at a UCDC town hall during his 2012 campaign, Governor Johnson posited: “What is the best thing the federal government could do when it comes to education in this country? I think it’s to abolish the federal Department of Education.” Johnson goes on to acknowledge and accept that some states would perform miserably if the Department were eliminated. Watch the full clip here.

TRUMP SAYS HE GETS MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT STUDENT DEBT THAN ANY OTHER ISSUE: In a recent town hall with Hardball host Chris Matthews, Donald Trump said that he gets more questions about student debt than any other issue. Trump goes on to promise borrowers that he will offer extensions and lower interest rates. Catch the full video here.

NEW BLOG FROM THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO SHOW BORROWER SAVINGS UNDER HER PLAN: The blog reads: “The graduating class of 2016 is slated to be the most indebted in U.S. history—and loan balances are disproportionately high for low-income students, including students of color. So how does student debt really affect your bottom line in the long run? It’s more than you might expect. The average undergraduate in the class of 2014 who took out loans borrowed just over $28,950. Paid back over 20 years at the unsubsidized federal loan rate, he or she would owe $186.00 per month. Those payments—every month for two decades—really add up. For instance: If you put that money in a savings account, you’d have more than $11,000 saved in just five years. If you invested that money in a mutual fund for 10 years, you could bank more than $27,000. And if you put all of those monthly payments in a 401(k), you could have $86,000 put aside for retirement in 20 years.” But not everyone was a fan of the Clinton campaign’s math. Brookings’ Beth Akers released her own blog, responding to the campaign’s original post (that has since been taken down), which makes the case that not all student debt is bad debt.

FORMER FDIC CHAIR & NOW COLLEGE PRESIDENT, SHEILA BAIR, ON TRUMP HIGHER ED PLAN: “Trump’s education advisor [suggested] that federal aid should be restricted for any student pursuing an ‘esoteric’ liberal arts degree… 45% of degrees offered by [the Bair-led] Washington College last year were in business, the STEM disciplines, and economics – which by the way, IS a liberal art and also Trump’s chosen major in college. Yes, we also have English, Philosophy and (gasp) fine arts majors, yet they find good jobs in finance, technology or go on to graduate or professional schools… Trump’s advisor sets forth many good ideas for student aid reform, including radical simplification of the application process and “skin in the game” requirements for colleges. He is right that colleges should bear some of the losses if their student loans default. But if student defaults are his concern, why pick on liberal arts colleges? Private non-profit colleges have the lowest default rates – 7%, compared to 9% for public four-year colleges, 18% for for-profit schools, and 23% for public two-year institutions… But most problematic is that his idea will effectively relegate access to liberal arts degrees to the wealthy elite… Without access to federal aid, low-income students will have to forgo pursuing a liberal arts degree.” (Fortune, May 17, 2016)


NEW HAMPSHIRE–AYOTTE CAMPAIGN INTERN PRAISES THE SENATOR IN AN LTE ON HER PRIVATE REFI BILL: In this past Sunday’s Concord Monitor, NH college student and Ayotte campaign intern, Ryan Smith of Northfield, wrote: “College. It’s expensive, and as a college student one thing I do not have is money. A life of Ramen and Mountain Dew is not the healthiest lifestyle, but it’s what fits the budget. I realize that college should not be a free ride, but it’s a little overwhelming to be in so much debt before the first job. That stress is present even in the best colleges in the country. That’s why I was grateful to learn that our senator, Kelly Ayotte, was working on ways to help students like me better afford higher education. She has put forth legislation that would help lower the interest rates on the loans I have and make it easier to repay my loans once I am done with school. With a few more dollars in my pocket and ditching the debt burden sooner, I can start saving for a more successful future. That’s thanks in large part to the work Sen. Ayotte is doing in the Senate.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE–AYOTTE SIGNS ON TO COONS-KING-PORTMAN BILL TO FORGIVE TAX ON STUDENT LOANS FORGIVEN DUE TO DEATH OR DISABILITY: Last month, Senator Ayotte signed on as a co-sponsor of S.2800, the Stop Taxing Death & Disability Act. With Ayotte putting veterans issues front and center in her campaign and NH having the highest student debt per graduate of any state in the country, watch for this bill to remain in the spotlight this cycle.

NEW HAMPSHIRE–HASSAN CAMPAIGN & SURROGATES TOUT HER SIGNING OF A BILL TO EXTEND IN-STATE TUITION RATES TO VETS: A coordinated push by the Hassan campaign and its surrogates to layout the Governor’s record on veterans issues is focusing in on Governor Hassan signing a bill enabling veterans to take advantage of in-state tuition rates at New Hampshire public colleges and universities.

MISSOURI–KANDER CITES SUPPORT OF “BAN THE BOX” LEGISLATION AND INCREASING ACCESS TO HIGHER ED AS WAYS TO REDUCE RACIAL INEQUALITY: In a candidate questionnaire from the 15th Ward Democrats, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander said this when asked about how he would improve racial equity: “Eliminating the school-to-prison pipeline should be a top priority in Congress, and I will work to improve education in underfunded school districts to empower young people and improve access to higher education. To decrease recidivism, Congress should support federal legislation in line with ‘Ban the Box’ proposals to increase opportunities for individuals who have been incarcerated. I am proud that I have ‘Banned the Box’ in the Secretary of State’s office.”

PENNSYLVANIA–McGINTY PRESS RELEASE BLAMES STUDENT DEBT ON TOOMEY’S PELL & REFI VOTES: In a new press release out from the McGinty Campaign says: “at a time when college tuition costs are skyrocketing and Pennsylvania students are graduating with the third highest average student debt in the country, Pat Toomey… voted in support of a budget that included the largest reduction in Pell Grants in history and opposed a bill that would have permitted students to refinance student loans.”

WISCONSIN–FEINGOLD NAMES COST OF HIGHER ED & PRESCRIPTION DRUGS TOP TWO ISSUES HE HEARS ABOUT ON THE TRAIL: Speaking on WXPR radio, Feingold said, “I would say of all the things I hear in terms of anxiety around the state, the cost of higher education and the cost of prescription drugs upsets people in all 72 counties.”


CA-24–CARBAJAL SAYS HE WOULD “FORCE THE BANKS TO REFINANCE STUDENT LOANS”: In a new ad called “Standing Up” from DCCC-backed Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, Carbajal casts the banks as the foil to the United States’ student loan problem. In the ad, a narrator says: “young people are getting crushed by student loan debt while Wall Street banks charge high interest rates. Carbajal says it’s time to force the banks to refinance student loans, saving students and their families thousands — money that should be helping young people start their lives, not line Wall Street’s pockets.”

IA-03–DEM CANDIDATES WEIGH IN ON COLLEGE COSTS & STUDENT DEBT: The Des Moines Register’s Kathie Obradovich rapid fire tweeted a recent exchange among the Democratic candidates from Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District on how they would address higher education issues. This is what you need to know:
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.08.41 PM
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 30, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 30, 2016)

Happy hump day, everyone! Here’s your weekly Millennial Memo blast. Keep an eye out for YI’s new Millennial Workforce Agenda out next week. Please share this week’s memo with friends and colleagues, encourage others to sign up for updates here, and follow YI on Twitter here.

CHELSEA SKEWERS SANDERS ON FREE COLLEGE PLAN PAY-FOR: “‘One of the things that I’ve heard really resonates with voters is his now quite famous pledge to give free college tuition to anyone at a public university or community college,’ Chelsea Clinton told reporters on Thursday. ‘Yet I think when people really look at how he would do that, it’s partly through (fees), but largely through expecting states to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars Day One.’ She said the bill for Wisconsin alone would hit $11 billion. ‘Your governor and state Legislature cut $250 million from public funding in 2015 alone, so it’s hard to imagine they would want to or even have the budget capacity to come up with $11 billion to fund his pledge,’ Chelsea Clinton said. ‘It matters to me that (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t commit to things that she doesn’t have direct control over and that she knows kind of aren’t likely in the current political environment, in which we have 31 Republican governors, all of whom have cut public education the last couple of years.’” (Wisconsin State Journal, 3/25/2016)

PRIORITIES USA CHIEF ON INDEPENDENTS’ RESPONSE TO TRUMP U ADS: Priorities USA’s chief strategist Guy “Cecil pointed to a recent study by Ace Metrix, a TV analytics company, that showed some anti-Trump ads scored particularly highly among independent voters, with three testimonials from self-described “Trump University victims” among the top five most effective ads. ‘Because something doesn’t work in the context of a Republican primary doesn’t mean it won’t work in the context of an undecided independent voter,’ Cecil said. ‘And [it] doesn’t mean it won’t work to motivate Democrats to turn out.’” (Politico, 3/29/2016)

KASICH SAYS UNIVERSITIES NEED TO CONTAIN COSTS BEFORE ADDRESSING STUDENT DEBT: “The governor engaged with the many students [at a recent town hall in Madison, Wisconsin] by discussing issues of concern to them, such as college affordability and the economy. ‘[We need to] restructure loans, but that can’t be done until universities get their prices under control,’ Kasich said. ‘As the [debt] goes up, students’ chances at getting a job go down.’” (The Daily Cardinal, 3/28/2016)

CHELSEA CLINTON GETS TWO PINOCCHIOS FOR DESCRIPTION OF HER MOM’S NEW COLLEGE COMPACT: At a campaign event in Milwaukee, “Chelsea Clinton suggest[ed] her mother’s [college] plan would allow students to graduate from school debt-free from public universities or private universities, and allow students from low- and middle-class families to go to school without paying for tuition. The plan does offer opportunities for students attending private school to lower their debt – i.e., cutting student loan interest rates. But the no-loan, or debt-free, component only applies to those attending four-year public colleges and universities. The Clinton plan does not offer free tuition — that’s the Sanders plan — but it does allow some low- to lower-middle-income families to qualify for no to low tuition, depending on what they are able to pay without borrowing money. The student also would work 10 hours a week. It’s not often we see Chelsea Clinton publicly giving detailed policy answers on behalf of her mother on the campaign trail. In this case, she bungled her talking points and oversimplified components of her mother’s plan — ultimately misleading voters. We suggest she brush up on her talking points carefully the next time there is a question-and-answer session with voters. We wavered between Two and Three Pinocchios, but will spare her a Pinocchio since she was speaking extemporaneously during a question-and-answer session.” (The Washington Post, 3/29/2016)

CLINTON SURROGATE, SEN. McCASKILL, CALLS SANDERS’ FREE COLLEGE PLAN “UNREALISTIC”: “A national program modeled on Missouri’s A+ Scholarship could ease the burden of college debt, but the federal government can’t afford to provide free higher education to every student, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said [on a college tour last week.]… McCaskill, who supports former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal for free college for all was too expensive. ‘There is no question that some of the promises being made in this presidential campaign are unrealistic,’ she said.” (Columbia Tribune, 3/24/2016)

NEW REPORT SAYS CLINTON PLAN DRIVES RISK FOR HIGHER ED SYSTEM: Politico’s Kim Hefling writes in Morning Education: “Not only is Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan ‘prohibitively expensive’ and ‘not viable in its current form,’ it’s poised to drive risk for the higher education industry through the election, Compass Point Research & Trading said Thursday. ‘Secretary Clinton continues to struggle among younger voters, and as we head into the general election we expect her campaign to focus intently on her higher education plan as a means of connecting with that voter demographic,’ the report says. ‘She will begin aggressively advocating for her higher education plan, which could pose headline risks and possibly even entice her GOP opponent to embrace similar proposals.’” (Politico, 3/25/2016)


CALIFORNIA–HARRIS SECURES OVER $1.1 BILLION JUDGEMENT AGAINST PREDATORY CORINTHIAN COLLEGES: “California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris won a more than $1.1-billion judgment Wednesday against the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges, after a San Francisco judge ruled that the company’s advertising practices misled students and violated the law. Granting a default judgment, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow found that Corinthian Colleges provided untrue or misleading statements about graduates’ job placement rates, duping both students and investors, and that the Santa Ana-based company unlawfully used U.S. military seals in advertisements, among other claims. The for-profit college operator, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May, was also faulted for advertising programs or degrees that it didn’t offer, such as training programs for X-ray and dialysis technicians, according to court papers. The judgment found that Corinthian and its subsidiaries had unfair and unlawful debt collection practices, including barring students from attending classes if they were behind on loan payments, and that they failed to disclose their role in the ‘Genesis loan’ program… Harris’ office has the authority to distribute whatever funds it obtains from the judgment to students who attended Corinthian and its related schools in California from 2010 onward.” (Los Angeles Times, 3/23/2016)

NEW HAMPSHIRE–IN NYT PROFILE, HASSAN DISCUSSES HER RECORD ON HIGHER ED: “Trump and Sanders voters share ‘a pervasive feeling that the system is truly rigged,’ [Democratic candidate and NH Governor Maggie Hassan] said in an interview in her office in Concord. ‘People are very frustrated and angry, and have this sense that no matter how hard you work, you can’t get ahead and stay ahead.’ Drawing a contrast with Ms. Ayotte, she said, ‘We’ve tried to lower costs of higher education; I froze tuition’ at the public universities. ‘While we were working so hard to do that, my opponent voted for deep cuts to Pell grants.’” (The New York Times, 3/28/2016)

NEVADA: ONE NATION TOUTS HECK’S SUPPORT FOR WORKFORCE INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY ACT, CAREER & TECHNICAL ED, AND CAREER READINESS: A review of outside advocacy group One Nation’s YouTube page reveals a focus by the group on workforce issues. Television and radio spots tout Rep. Joe Heck’s support for the Career & Technical Education Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) “to ensure funding for quality technical education” and “create job opportunities and strengthen job training.” One of the TV spots goes on to focus on his support for career readiness workshops, including a clip of Heck saying, “we are going to be doing workshops here to buff your resume, do better interviews, dress for success.” Check out the Heck radio spot here and TV spots here and here.

OHIO–ONE NATION ON PORTMAN’S SUPPORT FOR WIOA: One Nation is also up with a spot touting Sen. Rob Portman’s support for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), saying that the bill would improve worker training. Check out the spot here.
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO: Democratic Debate Day Edition

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (Democratic Debate Day Edition)

391 days to go…

It’s game day, folks! To mark the occasion, we have put together a list of 5 higher ed moments to watch for in tonight’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Here’s YI’s study guide for anyone looking to do some last minute brushing up ahead of showtime.

PLACE YOUR BETS: How many times do you think the words “student debt” will be brought up in tonight’s debate? Send your guess to me by 3pm ET today to get a shout out in the next edition of Millennial Memo.

MESSAGING THE NEW COLLEGE COMPACT: If you listen to the former Secretary of State discuss her New College Compact, you’re likely to have heard her describe her plan as one that would ensure “Costs won’t be a barrier. Debt won’t hold you back” – but not the more straightforward “free college” message resonating with some young primary voters. Will Clinton convince voters that her proposals will tackle costs?

A PLAN THAT CAN PASS: Recent polling shows that Millennial Democratic primary voters are feeling the Bern. With Sanders’ call for tuition-free college helping him gain traction with Democratic primary voters, will his opponents attack the plan’s feasibility? If so, how do they do so without losing the support of their Party’s base voters? We will also be watching to see whether any of the candidates doubledown on Clinton’s recent charge that no higher ed policy should pay to send GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s kids to college. Will this inject additional conversation about higher education into the Republican primary? Keep an eye on @RealDonaldTrump’s Twitter feed to find out.

BOXING OUT BIDEN: With Vice President Biden expected to announce whether or not he intends to run for president in the coming days, keep an eye out for candidates highlighting policy positions that outflank the Vice President. Candidates may question his past stances on bankruptcy changes that pulled protections from student borrowers, or the Obama-Biden Administration’s most recent budget that would weaken the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Thus far, the candidates have largely been silent on bankruptcy protections and lacked details about their support for loan forgiveness. Let’s see if the spotlight encourages them to turn over a new leaf.

THE BOOGEYMAN: With candidates putting higher education platforms on the table that call for significant investments, many are questioning the quality of our higher education system to begin with. Student loan servicers, for-profit colleges, governors that have taken an axe to higher education funding, or institutions themselves are all targets. Who will the candidates cast as the primary foil in higher education? And what will this mean for how their Republican rivals respond to their higher education plans?

THE WILD CARDS: ClintonSanders, and O’Malley have all unveiled proposals to rein in the cost of college and reduce the burden of student — many of these plans including important details like cost estimates and pay-fors. Will Chafee and Webb join other candidates in talking about higher education policy proposals they support and bring their own specific ideas?

Look for our post-debate wrap up Memo tomorrow. Have a good one!
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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (September 16, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (September 16, 2015)

418 days to go…

Good Wednesday morning and happy debate day, everyone! Most of the reporting ahead of tonight’s debate suggests that candidates are preparing to tear each other apart, but when it comes to targeting Millennials, campaigns are busy building up quite the outreach force. Be sure to share this week’s Millennial Memo with your colleagues and friends, and sign up for updates here.

TRUMP’S LAWYER SAYS THE DONALD WAS “INTIMATELY INVOLVED” IN TRUMP UNIVERSITY’S PRACTICES: According to the Washington Post’s Emma Brown, New York Attorney General Eric “Schneiderman alleged that the program’s instructors had no particular expertise in real estate and that the seminars didn’t offer any special Trump strategies; he found that the curriculum was largely written by a third-party company that creates materials for motivational speakers and salesmen. None of that is true, said Garten, Trump’s lawyer. Trump was ‘intimately involved in all of this,’ Garten said, vetting résumés of potential instructors, offering suggestions about what should be taught and helping create case studies based on his own real estate acquisitions.”

WHY STUDENT DEBT IS A TURNOUT ISSUE–MANY BORROWERS WOULD GO TO EXTREME LENGTHS TO PAY OFF DEBT: “Some people would go great lengths to have their student loan debts forgiven, according to a small survey by The survey said that 30 percent of respondents would sell one of their organs if it meant no more student debt. The personal finance website also said that 43 percent would sell half of their possessions while 38 percent said they would participate in a questionable health study.” (CNBC, 9/11/2015)

BUSH LAUNCHES POLITICAL NETWORK FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: CNN’s Ashley Killough reports: “Hoping to boost support among millennials, Jeb Bush’s team is announcing a political network for college students in support of his presidential bid, with 135 campus chapters already in place across 36 states. The network, ‘Mission:Next Campus,’ kicks off with the start of the school year and builds onto an existing program, “Mission:Next” that focuses on people under the age of 40 who want to help with fundraising and other campaign efforts. The initiative is run by Bush’s two sons, Jeb Bush, Jr. and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who’ve been active on the campaign trail. College-aged voters can be influential in early voting states like Iowa, which has more than 130,000 students at four-year colleges alone, according to the 2013 Iowa College and University Enrollment Report.”

BUT HE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE, PAUL TOUTS STUDENT SUPPORT AS WELL: “Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul announced Friday while speaking at Iowa State University that his campaign had met its goal of establishing 300 student groups within 30 days…  According to press release from Paul’s campaign, 339 Students for Rand chapters had been established nationwide… According to the Des Moines Register, Paul ‘made it clear’ that he ‘considers college students an integral part of his campaign’ while speaking at ISU Friday night.” (The Blaze, 9/12/2015)

POLITIFACT RATES CLINTON’S CLAIM THAT WALKER RAISED TAXES ON STUDENTS AS “FALSE”: “Clinton said Walker rejected legislation to make college loan payments tax deductible and the result was ‘to raise taxes on students.’ The Republican governor hasn’t stated support for Democratic-sponsored measures that would have provided the tax deduction, but he has never rejected such legislation, either. Since Walker has been in office, the measures have never been approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature and therefore have never been sent to the governor’s desk. Moreover, failing to pass legislation that would have provided a tax deduction doesn’t mean that taxes on student loan borrowers were increased. We rate Clinton’s statement False.” (Politifact, 9/9/2015)

RUBIO CAMP RELEASES VIDEO OUTLINING CASE FOR REFORMING HIGHER EDUCATION: Professor Rubio was back at the white board this week. On Monday, the Rubio campaign released a new web video highlighting the Florida Senator’s case for why America’s Education System Needs a Disruption and how he would shake things up. Check it out here:

WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO FAFSA: The Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas reports: “Instead of students waiting until January to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, long after many have applied to college, they will be able to complete the form three months earlier. Students will also be able to electronically retrieve and use tax information from two years earlier, rather than wait until tax season to complete the form known as the FAFSA… For millions of students, receiving financial aid makes all the difference in paying for college. The government and colleges use the FAFSA to determine need-based and some merit-based aid. The sooner students turn in the form the better their chances of qualifying for more money since some states award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.”

IN LIBERTY SPEECH, SANDERS SLAMS REPUBLICANS FOR $90 BILLION IN PELL GRANT BUDGET CUTS: Speaking at Liberty University this past Monday before thousands of students, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said: “At a time when many families cannot afford to send their kids to college,.. I am running on a program that says that every public college and university should be tuition-free. At a time families cannot afford to send their kids to college, Republicans voted for $90 billion in budget cuts to the Pell Grant over a 10-year period… all while the Republicans provided over $250 billion over a 10-year period in tax breaks for the top two tenths of one percent. I don’t think that is a moral budget.” (CSPAN, 9/14/2015)

CLINTON ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR MEASURES TO COMBAT CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT: Yahoo Politics’ Caitlin Dickson reports: “Hillary Clinton pledged to tackle campus sexual assault during a speech at the University of Northern Iowa on Monday… The proposals Clinton outlined — including more comprehensive on-campus resources for survivors, fairer investigative and disciplinary processes for both accusers and the accused, and increased preventive education — echo those outlined by President Obama as well as Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others who support the bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA).”

POTUS IS HOPING TO ELEVATE HIGHER ED IN 2016 NATIONAL CONVERSATION: Newlywed Allie Grasgreen Ciaramella of Politico Pro reports “Administration officials have dodged questions about the political significance of President Barack Obama traveling to Des Moines, Iowa – where the 2016 campaign just so happens to be in full swing – to discuss the new College Scorecard and changes to the FAFSA… But Press Secretary Josh Earnest [offered], ‘The president would really like to see a robust debate in the context of the 2016 campaign about what we can do to strengthen our economy and open up a college education to more middle class students.’”

SENATE SPECIAL–PORTMAN TARGETS STUDENTS ON INSTAGRAM, OTHER SOCIAL PLATFORMS: “[Sen. Rob Portman’s] campaign announced student chairs at 18 different schools, including The Ohio State University, one of the largest public universities in the country. The pitch to student voters also included a sponsored Instagram ad – the first time a Senate campaign has sponsored an advertisement on the popular social media app, according to the release. The ad was launched over the weekend to coincide with the first home football game for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the top-ranked team in the country, and featured four students doing the popular O-H-I-O pose outside the football stadium, with a link to join the newly launched student initiative. The campaign said other ads targeted at different colleges in the state will run later in the week… In addition to the new coalition and Instagram ads, the campaign launched a minute-long video featuring students from different schools throughout the state telling why they support the Republican senator, which will run on Facebook and Twitter. The social media blitz is a way for Portman to connect with young voters who were under 18 when he was last elected five years ago, and were teenagers during the years his likely opponent, Ted Strickland, was governor of the state… All of the advertisements – and the statements from the students joining the campaign – focus around a single message: jobs and the economy.” (RealClearPolitics, 9/14/2015)

DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATES FUNDRAISE ON HIGHER ED: Since the middle of last week, at least three Democratic Senate candidates have sent out email fundraising appeals that specifically spotlight their efforts to make college more affordable and reduce the burden of student debt. The Senators include: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, former Senator and candidate Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and candidate Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida. Though not up for re-election this cycle, Senator Heidi Heitkamp also sent out a similar appeal.

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new Public Policy Polling poll of Florida voters finds Hillary Clinton edging out her Republican opponents among 18- to 29-year-olds by greater margins than Senator Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden, except for against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Here is how the candidates matchup among 18- to 29-year-old Florida voters:
Clinton 48, Bush 34 (Clinton +14)
Sanders 49, Bush 40 (Sanders +9)
Biden 44, Bush 48 (Bush +4)
Clinton 51, Bush 19, Trump 20 (Clinton +31)
Clinton 46, Trump 44 (Clinton +2)
Biden 54, Trump 32 (Biden +22)
Sanders 52, Trump 33 (Sanders +19)
Clinton 56, Carson 34 (Clinton +22)
Sanders 38, Carson 42 (Carson +4)
Clinton 49, Fiorina 36 (Clinton +13)
Sanders 44, Fiorina 32 (Sanders +12)
Clinton 40, Walker 46 (Walker +6)
Sanders 46, Walker 43 (Sanders +3)
Clinton 48, Huckabee 37 (Clinton +9)
Clinton 48, Kasich 36 (Clinton +8)
Clinton 47, Rubio 41 (Clinton +6)
Clinton 54, Cruz 32 (Clinton +22)


Major Malfunction: Racial disparities in college major selection, Young Invincibles, Tom Allison, Konrad Mugglestone & Kendall Foster

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