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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!