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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 9, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (December 9, 2015)

Good Wednesday morning, everyone! I’m sure you all are just like me and counting down the days until you head out for the holidays, but dig into this week’s edition of Millennial Memo below and make sure you are in-the-know ahead of next week’s debates. Encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates here.

We are 6 days away until the next GOP debate, 10 days away until the next (Saturday night!) Democratic debate, and 54 days away until Iowa! (Breathe… deeply.., it’s almost 2016.)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: Keep an eye out for a special edition of Millennial Memo I will send soon to reveal findings from our recent survey of Millennial voters.

RUBIO CALLS FOR ELIMINATING DEPT OF EDUCATION, SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITIES TO TREASURY: Speaking at an event last week in New Hampshire, Senator Rubio said: “I honestly don’t believe we need a federal Department of Education… I think we can take the Department of Education, that administers some important programs, like the Pell Grant, or the student loan program, we can transfer those to the Treasury. We don’t need a federal school district. We don’t need a national school board.” (New Hampshire Union Leader, 12/4/2015)

CHRISTIE SOUNDS WARNING ON COLLEGE ROCK-CLIMBING WALL “EPIDEMIC”: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is warning of an ‘epidemic’ popping up on college campuses around the country: rock-climbing walls. ‘There is an epidemic of rock-climbing walls breaking out in college campuses all over America,’ the Republican presidential candidate told voters at a campaign stop in Jefferson, Iowa recently, using the warning as a comical jumping-off point to discuss his proposals to tackle the challenges of student debt and rising tuition costs. Christie sees rock-climbing walls as one example of superfluous spending by universities that drives up the price tag on college education. He contends that colleges should be required to itemize and unbundle tuition bills, so that students and parents have greater insight and control over where and how their money is being spent. ‘You put market forces on it,’ Christie said Friday, comparing colleges to restaurants that provide customers with a cost breakdown for each individual item on their bill. ‘If 98 percent of the people say I am not paying for a rock-climbing wall, adios rock-climbing wall,’ he added.” (ABC News, 12/7/2015)

STATE LAWMAKERS JOIN PUSH FOR DEBT-FREE COLLEGE: “Legislators in 10 states will announce today that they are introducing bills in their respective legislatures to create debt-free options in public higher education. The effort is part of a push by backers of the idea — already endorsed by the major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination — to demonstrate the state-level interest that would be necessary. The plans of the Democratic candidates all call for state-federal partnerships. Among the states that will see bills are early caucus/primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.” (Inside Higher Ed, 12/7/15)

RUBIO’S ACCREDITATION BILL EARNS PRAISE FROM HEAD OF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE TRADE GROUP & THINK TANK EXPERT: “Former GOP congressman Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin, now president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, praised Rubio for seeing the ‘bigger picture’ on higher education. ‘He is the one candidate of either party that’s really raising that issue and is addressing what clearly the data shows is going to be an emerging skill gap over the next few years as baby boomers retire and as new jobs require additional skills,’ Gunderson said… Rubio has teamed with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado on a bill that would benefit a number of alternative higher education programs currently ineligible for federal student aid… The bill would create a new accrediting authority using more expansive criteria — such as job placement rates and student loan repayment rates — than those used by the regional boards. The proposal gets a thumbs-up from Amy Laitinen, who handles higher education issues at New America, a Washington think tank. Current accreditation rules rely on irrelevant yardsticks such as the number of books in a university library and the percentage of faculty holding Ph.D.s, said Laitinen, a former higher-education policy adviser in the Obama administration. Those metrics ‘have nothing to do with whether or not students are learning anything and whether or not they’re getting a good value on their education,’ she said. ‘I actually think this is an attempt to make accreditation meaningful,’ Laitinen said of the Rubio-Bennet proposal. ‘If (Rubio) was just saying, let’s let new providers in the market and give them money, I would say absolutely not. That’s a terrible idea. But if you’re saying we’re going to hold them to a higher standard than we hold traditional higher ed, then yeah, absolutely, because we don’t hold higher ed to any standards at this point.’” (USA Today, 12/4/2015)

IOWA ELECTED PRESSES PAUL ON NEED TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE: “Waterloo City Councilman-elect Jerome Amos is tired of all the statistics that highlight all the negatives in the community — particularly the jarring figure of 24.0 percent unemployment among African-Americans. So, when Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made a Saturday morning visit to Hairport in Waterloo, Amos had one particular concern he hoped to get addressed. ‘That’s what I’m talking about providing is opportunities for those individuals that don’t normally have any. We have to start doing that. We have to start giving our young people hope,’ Amos told Paul in a packed barber shop… He said the role of the government in addressing poverty is often for government to get out of the way of people’s aspirations… Throughout the stop, Paul earned nods and words of agreement from the about two dozen people at the barber shop for his “different ideas,” on everything from reducing student debt to addressing criminal justice reform to the role of faith in government.” (The Globe Gazette, 12/5/2015)

WHAT NH IS READING–FMR. SEN. GREGG & GOV. LYNCH CALL FOR INCREASING INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES: “As representatives from opposite parties, we strongly believe in an issue that transcends politics and strongly reflects our core values: support for national service… Not only is this an issue that we both agree on, voters across the country overwhelmingly support an increased investment as well… Americans overwhelmingly agree that national service prepares young people for the workforce, builds strong neighborhoods and communities, and restores the American values of patriotism and civic duty. Four-in-five voters also supported the education awards offered to AmeriCorps alumni, which help to defray ever-rising college costs. (AmeriCorps members earn a college scholarship worth $5,775.) With the largest average student loan debt in the nation, this is likely a benefit Granite Staters in particular can get behind. As we hear more from the presidential candidates and learn details about their plans for the country’s future, a commitment to expanding funding for national service, which is paid for, should be included.” (New Hampshire Union Leader, 12/8/2015)

NEW COLLEGE COMPACT REMAINS CLINTON CAMPAIGN’S LARGEST INVESTMENT PROMISE AS CONVERSATION OVER PAY-FORS MOUNTS: In an interview with Secretary Clinton on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos pressed the Secretary for how she would pay for all of the proposals her campaign has unveiled. Stephanopoulos referenced a Washington Post editorial that said: “there is simply no way that the federal government can meet its current fiscal commitments plus the increased demands of an aging population and provide the new forms of middle class relief and business tax relief Mrs. Clinton promises while tapping only the top 3 percent of earners” When asked to respond, Clinton pushed back saying, “I just respectfully disagree. And that’s why I’ve laid out very specific plans about the kind of investments that I think Middle Class families particularly need that we have to have to, you know, grow our economy. And I’ve been very specific about how I will pay for each of those.”
Clinton Spending Plans
(Source: ABC’s This Week)


The Supreme Court Could Fuel Campus Unrest in Ruling on Race in Admissions, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Peter Schmidt

Westwood College Freezes Enrollment, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Janel Davis