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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (January 20, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (1/20/2016)

I don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing a debate and forum hangover after the last week. But there’s no time to rest. We are just 11 days away from the Iowa Caucuses. Check out the latest from the trail below, please share this week’s Millennial Memo with your friends and colleagues, and sign up for updates here.

BUSH ROLLS OUT HIGHER ED PLAN: “Bush embraces the idea of ‘skin in the game’ — giving colleges and universities incentives to show that former students are able to pay back their loans. That’s an idea that’s been discussed to an extent in Congress. Bush says his plan will also support ‘innovative new providers,’ and he wants to create state databases to make apparent to prospective students how well graduates are doing in terms of salary and their ability to get a job. He supports allowing 529 college savings accounts to be converted into education saving accounts that could be used to fund K-12 schooling and later college or job training. Bush would also allow states to deposit $2,500 each year into the account of every child under 5 from a low-income family. And anyone could make a tax-deductible contribution to a student’s account. As part of an education savings account, he said he wants to give all high school graduates access to a $50,000 line of credit that they could use for educational and skill-building programs. Students would then repay 1 percent of their income for 25 years for every $10,000 they spend. ‘This ensures affordable repayment, removes risk of default and protects students during periods of unemployment, while the [education savings account] structure gives students flexibility and the incentive to be cost-conscious,’ Bush said. It also offers relief to existing borrowers with these promises: a new income-based repayment system, more transparent debt collection, allowing private student loan debt to be discharged by bankruptcy, an extended debt repayment period and an easier transition to income-based repayment programs created under the Obama administration.” (Politico, 1/18/2016)

SANDERS MAKES PITCH TO MINORITY STUDENTS IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION DISCUSSION: When asked how he would respond to a white student who believes that their access to education is being limited by affirmative action, Sanders said, “how I would respond is it’s time not to play off white against black, it’s to make sure every kid in this country — regardless of income — can get an education, which is why I am vigorously fighting to make sure that all public colleges and universities are tuition-free. I’d tell that white kid, you deserve an education, but so does the black kid next to you… Every kid in this country has a right to a higher education.” When asked what he would do to help protect minority students’ access to higher education if the Supreme Court ends affirmative action, Sanders said he would do “everything that [he] can.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

O’MALLEY CALLS FOR PUTTING DEGREE COMPLETION, NOT INSTITUTIONS AT CENTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM: “My debt-free college plan covers not only tuition, but it also covers room and board, which is often times a big, big chunk of what it takes to go to college. But I also believe there are some great examples of online universities — many of them public online universities — that actually work and create more flexible pathways for students to be able to finish their degrees to move forward when they’re ready. And I don’t believe we should stifle that. But I do believe we need to lift up those schools that actually work… We need a more blended way to achieve degree attainment. Rather than putting the institutions at the center, we need to put degree completion at the center, and I think we need to be open to online universities.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

O’MALLEY CALLS FOR CUTTING OFF PREDATORY FOR-PROFITS: When asked if for-profit colleges found to have been involved in predatory behavior should be able to have access to federal funding, Governor O’Malley said, “No, they should not.” (Fusion, 1/11/2016)

RUBIO TELLS MINNEAPOLIS GOPERS THAT YOUNG VOTERS ARE KEY TO THE PARTY WINNING BEYOND THEIR BASE: “Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told a Minneapolis fundraiser Tuesday he would be best at bringing together Republicans after the hard-fought presidential nomination battle. With the Iowa caucuses only a few weeks away, Rubio told the Minneapolis crowd the Republican Party needed to attract voters beyond its base. ‘Our nominee must also be someone that can attract new people into our cause, and we will,’ he said. ‘That’s why we spend time talking about college loan debt and what students are facing and young Americans. Because we are going to win more young voters.’” (Minneapolis Public Radio, 1/19/16)

IN CNBC INTERVIEW, JEB BLAMES STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM FOR RISING TUITION RATES: When asked about what role rising tuition has in inflating the nation’s student debt, Governor Bush said, “you wanna know why [tuition is going up]? Because it’s financed by the federal government’s student loan program. There’s no accountability. Our system puts a cap on the loans and forces the institutions to lower cost… If you have a cap on the amount of money that can be financed, you’ll see everyone’s interests aligning.” (CNBC, 1/19/2016)

CLINTON PASSES ON RESPONDING TO SANDERS’ TWO-TO-ONE LEAD AMONG YOUNG VOTERS: “A millennial asked how the candidates plan to gain his generation’s support. Mrs. Clinton articulated a liberal agenda that she thought would draw young and old but ‘especially young people,’ appalled by the prospect of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Asked why Mr. Sanders does better with young voters, she responded, ‘I have the greatest respect for Senator Sanders’ and ‘his supporters,’ and Mr. Sanders smiled.” (The New York Times, 1/17/2016)

JOB CREATION REMAINS TRUMP’S SOLUTION TO REDUCE COLLEGE COSTS & STUDENT DEBT: At a recent event in Concord, New Hampshire, “the second question focused on his plans for reducing costs of college and college debt. Once again, Trump talked a lot without really saying anything of merit or substance. He talked about the importance of creating jobs for people, something he is very good at, but he never tackled the topic of student debt or the overall cost of tuition. He also failed to outline how he would create these jobs, falling back on his catchphrase of the night ‘trust me’.” When asked by Young Invincibles seven months ago about how he would make college more affordable, Mr. Trump had a similar response. (Star Tribune, 1/18/16)

COMING TO AN HBCU NEAR YOU: “In an effort to court minority voters, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign is launching a tour — officially dubbed “Feel the Bern” — of historically black colleges and universities. On the docket Thursday night: South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C. South Carolina and Nevada are holding their primaries in February, and are next up after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. Stops on the tour include Tennessee State University in Nashville; Alabama State University in Montgomery; Jackson State University; Florida A&M University in Tallahassee; Virginia State University in Petersburg; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; the Atlanta University Center; and Benedict College in Columbia, S.C…. Despite pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton by 5 points in Iowa polls, Sanders faces an uphill battle with black voters. A November 2015 Winthrop poll showed 80% of black potential South Carolina voters surveyed supported Clinton.” (USA Today, 1/14/2016)

KASICH SAYS STUDENTS MUST TAKE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT MAKE COLLEGE DECISIONS BASED ON BRAND: “Kasich says students must take more accountability. ‘I’m wearing a North Face, it’s a brand,’ Kasich said in his response to Nguyen. ‘Sometimes students pick higher education colleges based on a brand and not based on what their needs are, and then they pay for the fact that they are picking a brand rather than what fits them.’ He also outlined what he called a ‘practical and doable’ plan that includes increasing opportunities for high school students to earn college credit and easing the transfer from a two-year community college to a four-year university.” (Boston Globe, 1/11/2016)


Pushing on Pell, Inside Higher Ed, Paul Fain

Poor Kids, Limited Horizons, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott Carlson