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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (April 6, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (April 6, 2016)

Good Wednesday morning, everyone! We are just 102 days away from Cleveland and 109 days away from Philadelphia. What happens between now and then? God only knows. But we’ll have you covered with everything you need to know about 2016 & Millennials. Share this week’s Millennial Memo with colleagues and friends, sign up for updates, and follow YI on Twitter here to stay in the know. Have a great rest of this very busy week!

OUT THIS WEEK: Young people have realized gains over the last few years, but too many Millennials are still struggling to find a job or work that pays a decent living. Responding to some of the concerns we have heard from young people struggling to gain a foothold in today’s economy, Young Invincibles released our 2016 Millennial Workforce Development Priorities. If adopted in full, the reforms we outline could create over 3 million full-time, part-time, and summer jobs each year and would improve training opportunities for an additional 1 million young people at an annual cost of $13.1 billion.

KASICH CALLS FOR STRONGER CONNECTION BETWEEN EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE: During a town hall hosted by CNN last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich said: “We have got to begin to teach our kids in K through 12 and also in the community college and the four-year schools to be getting an education for a job that exists.  Don’t get educated in a vacuum.  Make sure you know what you want to do, and look for an education that can lead you to a real job.”

CRUZ SAYS BETTER WORKFORCE BEGINS WITH BETTER EDUCATION: Addressing the skills gap at a recent CNN town hall, Sen. Ted Cruz said: “it is a huge problem we see of a need for a trained workforce and a need for a workforce that’s prepared and wants to work. You know, as I meet with small business owners all across the country, I hear those concerns over and over and over again that it’s hard to get people who are qualified and who want to work and are prepared to work, and that’s a real challenge… Now, in terms of getting new and able workers, we need to do several things. Number one, we need to reform education. You know, the step to having well-trained workers is having a strong education program.”

CRUZ OUTLINES WHAT STATES SHOULD DO WITH EDUCATION BLOCK GRANTS: Cruz continued: “If you look at education right now, number one, I think the federal government needs to get the heck out of it… I think what we ought to be doing is abolishing the federal Department of Education and block-granting that money to send it back to Wisconsin. I think the people of Wisconsin know much better what to do with that money. And part of that money… ought to be directed to vocational training, ought to be directed to different nontraditional ways where people can earn skills, whether it’s distance learning, whether it is using the Internet, using options where your only option isn’t spending $50,000 a year at a four-year college but expanding the options for people to get education.”

CLINTON CASTS GOV. WALKER AS FREE COLLEGE FOIL: “In Walker’s Wisconsin, a frustrated Clinton has taken the tactic to a level beyond standard partisan jabs — she’s used his record to undermine the feasibility of Sanders’ proposals. Zeroing in on the Vermont senator’s college affordability plan that’s central to his appeal to younger voters, Clinton has taken to reminding voters they would not benefit from the proposal if they live in a state with an uncooperative GOP governor. Walker, she says on the campaign trail, fits that bill — a message echoed in a web video circulated by her campaign this weekend. ‘The way we figure it, under Senator Sanders’ plan, the state of Wisconsin would have to put in $300 million over 10 years for free college, and you have a governor who just cut $250 million from the state higher education budget,’ she said here on Monday.” (Politico, 4/3/2016) Clinton’s remarks were delivered at a recent Wisconsin Democratic Party fundraiser. Check them out in full here. The Clinton also repackages that message in a new web ad.Check it out here.

UW PROFESSOR ENDORSES SANDERS’ FREE COLLEGE PLAN: Earlier this week, UW-Madison professor of educational policy studies Sara Goldrick-Rab penned an op-ed in support of Sanders’ free college plan. “Bernie Sanders has a plan that emphasizes the importance of making public higher education affordable to everyone, period…It focuses on the public sector because government can hold schools accountable for high-quality outcomes, and encourage real competition for private institutions that shortchange students. Sadly, Hillary Clinton decries this bold effort to make college affordable because she thinks Gov. Scott Walker won’t like it, or one of Trump’s kids might actually benefit. … [Sanders is] proposing that the federal government pays two-thirds of the costs and states pay one-third. If Governor Walker refuses to make college in Wisconsin affordable, then Wisconsin residents will either vote him out or move to Minnesota where college will be free — after all, they will face a nearly $100,000 incentive per degree to do so.”

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR ON SANDERS’ COLLEGE PLAN: “There are two surefire applause lines at any Sanders rally: His brutal takedowns of Wall Street bankers. His passion for college education. Many of Sanders’ ideas are unrealistic and have little chance of surviving death by Congress. He has a $15.3 trillion tax plan that 1) would not pass even if the Democrats took control and 2) would put a real hurt on the economy if it did. But the senator and Democratic candidate for president may be on to something if his push for free college leads to a serious discussion about educational attainment in the U.S. Training after high school is essential, whether it’s an advanced degree or a two-year technical certificate. The median weekly earnings for a high school graduate last year were $678 but rose to $800 a week for an associate degree and $1,137 for a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The likelihood of being unemployed dropped like a rock as educational attainment rose… But at a time when Wisconsin businesses are complaining they can’t find enough qualified help and when the state’s biggest business lobby frets about our aging population, Wisconsin should be looking for smart ways to boost its rate of educational attainment whether through a free tuition program or some other way… The senator hasn’t sold me. But I do believe this: While 12 years of schooling was good enough for my Dad, it’s not nearly good enough for your kids.” (Journal Sentinel, 4/3/2016)

WARREN PRAISES CLINTON & SANDERS FOR COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY CONVERSATION: “By contrast, the Democratic nominating contest, Warren said, has been filled with debates over ideas that will actually affect the lives of Americans. Noting that 70 percent of Americans have to borrow money for college, Warren pointed out that Sanders and Clinton are having a good debate about the cost of higher education. ‘Between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders, they’re talking about should it be free college or should it be debt-free college. God bless that is the right place to have that discussion,’ she said. Warren, who has declined to make an endorsement in the Democratic primary so far, added that Sanders supporters should vote for Clinton if she gets the nomination and vice versa.” (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 3/31/2016)


ILLINOIS–DUCKWORTH TO PROPOSE NEW NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAM: “Duckworth… tout[ed] legislation she intends to propose that would establish a voluntary national service program targeted at all young American adults. Duckworth told a group of people from local human services agencies about putting finishing touches on what she’s calling the 21st Century American Service Act, which she hopes to have ready to present when Congress returns to work the week of April 11… Duckworth’s plan-in-the-works would have any eligible American who applies to dedicate a year of service provided with an opportunity to serve and provided with a post-service educational award to help students afford college tuition. The program would enroll all legal U.S. residents and citizens 18-30 years old, Duckworth said. People could opt out of receiving further notification of the voluntary program to volunteer. Those who don’t opt out and who aren’t taking part would receive notification every two years until they turn 30, Duckworth said. The act would task a commission — within 10 years of the act being signed into law — with coming up with a plan for and a way to fund granting money to cover college costs or student debt based on hours served. Another task would be to figure out an efficient way to contact youths as they turn 18 about the details of the act.” (Chicago Tribune, 4/1/2016)

NORTH CAROLINA–DSCC EXEC DIRECTOR ON PELL: In describing Democratic candidate Deborah Ross, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Tom Lopach said: “Her record is a stark contrast with Senator Richard Burr who has voted with his party a staggering 95 percent of the time in favor of cutting billions from Pell Grants, turning Medicare into a voucher program and protecting companies that ship North Carolina jobs overseas.”

NEVADA–HECK IS LEADING BIPARTISAN EFFORT IN THE HOUSE TO SIMPLIFY THE FAFSA: “The current guidelines for FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, can be difficult to understand for prospective college students. Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are saying that students who want to go to college shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to acquire financial aid. The bill would make it easier for prospective college students to get the information they need to fill out a FAFSA form. Congressman Joe Heck (R-Nevada) thinks the current requirements scare some students away. ‘I’m still paying off my student loans,’ said Heck. ‘I know how difficult it is to navigate this process, and we don’t want that to be a hiccup for some talented high school graduate that’s looking to go onto college.’ Heck says the fact that the current FAFSA is ten pages long with 100 questions makes it difficult for students and their families to get through the form. He says this bill will cut through a lot of unnecessary red tape, it includes the sharing of some IRS information that will automatically fill in parts of the application for the student. Another component is the tax information required… This bill allows for students to use the previous year’s [tax] information… Heck says he doesn’t think a number of the questions currently being asked on FAFSA forms have any impact on determining financial aid, and he says he’d like to see those cut out.” (KCRG)