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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 2, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 2, 2015)

341 days to go…

And we’re back! I hope all of you had a nice, restful Thanksgiving and got your fair share of turkey. Speaking of turkey, candidates are talking it — we are officially less than two months away from the Iowa Caucuses. Share this week’s Millennial Memo with your colleagues and friends, and sign up for updates here.

***Be sure to catch the next few editions of Millennial Memo, we are just out of the field with a poll of Millennial voters. I think many of you will find the data very interesting.***

NEW REPORTS GIVE BAD GRADES TO FOR-PROFIT SCHOOL PRESIDENT CLINTON SERVED AS HONORARY CHANCELLOR FOR: “To investors including KKR & Co. and Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management, Laureate Education Inc. has been a star student in the struggling class of for-profit colleges. Now, as the world’s largest higher-education company prepares for an initial public offering, two new report cards have given its biggest U.S. school some poor grades. The studies, which use repayment data to see how borrowers are handling their federal student debt, show that students who attended Laureate’s Walden University are failing to make progress paying off their loans. That means taxpayers could be on the hook. While Walden’s default rates are below the national average, former students have accumulated the second-highest amount of federal loans of any U.S. school, according to one of the studies, from the Brookings Institution.” (Bloomberg, 11/4/2015)

RUBIO’S YOUTH PITCH HAS YET TO TRANSLATE TO YOUTH SUPPORT: “Rubio, 44, paints himself as the ‘generational candidate,’ one with fresh ideas who can shake up his party and, ultimately, an election. It’s a savvy tactic for turning one of his potential negatives — his inexperience — into a positive. A similar approach worked for Barack Obama in 2008, when he was also a freshman legislator who hated the Senate; he mobilized massive numbers of young people to cast their ballots for him. But the Florida Republican’s message of youthfulness has not resulted in many youthful supporters so far. In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Rubio received 16 percent support from Republicans 65 and older, compared with 12 percent among those ages 50 to 64 and 7 percent among those younger than 50. He might be, as Michael Kinsley famously said about then-Sen. Al Gore, ‘an old person’s idea of a young person.’” (The Washington Post, 11/25/2015)

TRUMP SAID HE IS ROUTINELY ASKED ABOUT STUDENT DEBT: “Donald Trump doesn’t understand why so few companies provide affordable, in-house child care for their employees like he does at some of his companies… Trump’s comments came after a woman asked him what he would do as president to provide workers, especially working mothers, with more access to affordable child care. The woman’s question was lengthy and jam-packed with statistics, prompting Trump to quiz her on why she was asking the question. ‘It’s funny because it’s not something you hear as much about as you would think,’ Trump said, saying he hears many more questions about student loan debt and job creation.” (The Washington Post, 11/19/2015)

FIORINA BLASTS BERNIE’S TUITION-FREE COLLEGE PLAN: The week before Thanksgiving, “Fiorina was the keynote speaker of the first annual Keystone Conference on Business and Policy [at the University of Pennsylvania]…  Fiorina spoke for nearly 30 minutes about economic policy, leadership and student loan debt… One questioner in the audience asked how Fiorina would address student loan debt, prompting an excoriating criticism of the views of her Democratic rivals, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. ‘There is no such thing as free,’ she said regarding Sanders’ plan to make state college tuition free for all students. ‘Someone will pay.’ Fiorina also lambasted President Barack Obama’s administration for assuming control of student loan programs. ‘This is how socialism starts. Government creates a problem and then government steps in to solve the problem,’ she said. ‘[The] federal government pays less interest for its debt than students pay on loans.’” (The Daily Pennsylvanian, 11/20/2015)

IN NEW YORK TIMES INTERVIEW, FIORINA’S EX-HUSBAND SAID HE AND THE CANDIDATE LIVED OFF OF HIS STUDENT LOANS: “Mrs. Fiorina graduated, and following in her father’s footsteps, enrolled in law school. But she dropped out after a semester and, apparently against her father’s advice, married a man named Todd Bartlem. ‘A little bit of rebellion,’ Mr. Bartlem said of their 1977 marriage, and their immediate move overseas to Italy, where he was a graduate student in Bologna. Mr. Bartlem, who split from Mrs. Fiorina in 1984, said they lived off his student loans because ‘her parents wouldn’t give us a penny.’ Still, he described it as a sweet time in their lives, living in a tiny apartment on San Petronio Vecchio and going to class as his young bride passed the hours learning Italian and studying for business school entrance exams.” (The New York Times, 11/26/2015)

HOW DOES YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD STACK UP ON STUDENT DEBT?: Yesterday, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth released an analysis commissioned by Generation Progress and Higher Ed, Not Debt that measures student loan delinquencies, average loan balances, and median income by zip code. The analysis finds that wealthier, affluent communities generally have higher average loan debt figures and lower delinquencies. On the other hand, lower-income communities generally have lower average loan debt figures, but higher rates of delinquency. If all politics is local, let’s see if we start seeing this analysis inform candidate stump speeches based on where they are campaigning. Check out the Mapping Student Debt webpage here.


MOM AND DAD ARE KEEN ON FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE: “Parents facing big college bills are skeptical about many of the current proposals to ease the college affordability crisis. But they show some support for plans to make the first two years of college free for everyone by eliminating other federal aid and tax breaks for college… MONEY and Kaplan’s survey of 536 parents with teens age 15 to 18 who plan to go to college is one of the largest surveys so far to address these possible fixes to the nation’s broken college financing system. Fully 45% of parents said they agreed with the proposal for two free years of college, versus 29% who disagreed, giving it a 16% positive rating. Kathleen Weldon, a spokeswoman for the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell, said that result showed ‘mild public support’—as well as a great deal of uncertainty, since more than 20% of respondents chose ‘not sure’ as their response for each of the proposed solutions.” (TIME, 11/10/2015)

BUT ARE SOUR ON INCOME-SHARING AGREEMENTS: “The proposal parents most opposed: allowing investors to pay for all or part of their kids’ college education in return for receiving a share of their income after graduation. Such ‘income-sharing agreement’ (ISA) plans have been gaining attention, especially, but not exclusively, among conservatives. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has submitted a bill to Congress to promote ISAs. Mitch Daniels, the former Republican governor of Indiana who is now president of Purdue, has said he would like to give Purdue students the option of funding at least some of their education through ISAs. But fully half of parents we surveyed disagreed with the idea, while only 23% agreed with it, giving it a negative rating of 27%.”  (TIME, 11/10/2015)


Student debt forgiveness could narrow the racial wealth gap, The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel