Return to the Latest

2016 Millennial Memo (July 1, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 Millennial Memo (July 1, 2015)

495 days to go…

Good morning, patriots! Before you get your Independence and inner-Joey Chestnut on, check out this week’s Millennial Memo for all things 2016 and student debt. Be sure to share Millennial Memo with your colleagues and friends, and have a safe holiday.

WALKER TAKES HEAT ON STUDENT DEBT: A new ad campaign from progressive groups One Wisconsin Now, WI Jobs Now, and the Agenda Project suggests that Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) is “drowning Wisconsin students in debt.” A webpage for the ad links to a petition calling on Walker to allow students to refinance their loans — an issue that came up earlier in Wisconsin’s legislative session.

FLASHBACK–CHRISTIE PROMISES ANSWER ON PELL UPON ANNOUNCING RUN: On Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) announced that he is running for president. You might remember from an early edition of Millennial Memo that, when asked about whether he would support boosting investment in the Pell Grant to help more low-income students be able to afford college, Governor Christie said: “Well, we’ll see. You know, if I decide to run for president, I’ll definitely answer that one.” (Video here.)

WHAT NEW HAMPSHIRE IS READING: Manchester’s WMUR reports that Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH) “vetoed the [state’s] $11.3 billion budget,.. saying it is unbalanced, makes false promises about what it funds and gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations.” In her veto announcement, “Hassan said the tax breaks come at the expense of priorities such as higher education… ‘The long-term impact of these unpaid-for tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets,’ she said… Hassan said the budget would not provide any year-to-year increase to the university system, still funded below 2010 levels.” In 2010, the state cut per full-time student funding for the UNH System nearly in half. Just a reminder, New Hampshire has the highest 4-year tuition in the country at $14,665 a year.

TUITION-FREE COLLEGE A MASSIVE SUBSIDY FOR THE RICH?: A new opinion piece by the Manhattan Institute’s Patrick Holland critiques tuition-free college plans. “Currently, 81 percent of college graduates come from families with above average incomes. Free college wouldn’t just make college affordable for low-income students, it would also offer a massive subsidy to the upper class. More than 56 billion of the $70 billion it would cost to eliminate tuition would go to families with above-average incomes. If this policy’s goal is to increase accessibility, there are certainly better ways to spend $70 billion.”

BUSH LAUDS OBAMACARE FOR PROTECTING PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS: According to Bloomberg Politics’ Melinda Henneberger, former Governor Jeb Bush campaigned in Nevada this past weekend and when addressing “a young man who asked about the high cost of higher education and the crushing burden of college debt, particularly to sometimes unscrupulous private lenders… [Bush] allowed that Obamacare has made the private companies who’ve taken advantage of students less of a problem. ‘Obamacare effectively nationalized the student loan program,’ he said.”

BUSH BLAMES COLLEGE COST PROBLEM ON “SO MANY STUDENTS TAKING SO LONG TO GRADUATE”: Governor Bush continued, “Part of the problem of the high cost of college, he said, comes from so many students taking so long to graduate. He didn’t have that problem as a young men, he recalled, because ‘I met my wife in high school… I fell so crazy in love, graduated in two and a half years’… These days on campus, he said, students have “the French work week. It’s not the kids’ fault,’ though, but that of their school administrators, who now consider a full course load 12 credit hours instead of 15.” (Bloomberg Politics, 6/29/2015)

OUT THIS MORNING–RAND REVEALS WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM HIS HIGHER ED TAX DEDUCTION PLAN: In an interview with The Skimm released this morning, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered up a few thoughts on how he views the country’s student debt problem and what he would do to address it. “I think the student loan bubble is looming. There is going to be a big problem if we ever get to the point where it is finally discovered that education costs have run so much, the return on investment isn’t growing nearly as fast — and people are already discovering, they are getting out of college, and the salaries they anticipated aren’t there but the loans are there. I would consider going to school a business expense, so I would make the whole thing deductible. I would make the interest deductible, I would make the principle deductible, and I would let anybody do it.”

O’MALLEY PUSHES POTUS’ COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROPOSAL: According to the Ames Tribunes, former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) fielded questions on student debt, among other issues, in front of a crowd of roughly 100 people this past weekend at a house party. When addressing higher education, Governor O’Malley said, “‘I’ve heard the president’s idea of free community college… I think that it is something worth pursuing and investing in.’ He also added ideas of lowering the student loan interest rate and increasing usage of income-based repayment to make loans more manageable.”

THE POTENTIAL 2016 HIGHER ED ISSUE THAT FEW ARE TALKING ABOUT: On Monday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will “take a second look at a challenge to the use of race in admissions decisions by the University of Texas at Austin, reviving a potent challenge to affirmative action in higher education… The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Fisher v. University of Texas reaffirmed that educational diversity is an interest sufficient to overcome the general ban on racial classifications by the government. But it added that public institutions must have good reasons for the particular methods they use to achieve that goal.” (The New York Times, 6/29/2015)

POLITICOS AGREE–TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE, CANDIDATES WILL NEED A HIGHER ED AGENDA THAT TACKLES STUDENT DEBT: “In order to win the White House in 2016, the successful candidate will have to develop a higher education agenda that deals with student debt, a political analyst told a group of higher education accreditors Wednesday. ‘You can’t go into a discussion — especially with anyone under the age of 30 — and not have the issue of student debt raised,’ said Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report and a frequent news commentator. ‘Each candidate is going to have to have to have an answer for that,’ Walter said.” (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 6/24/2015)


Looks like pollsters started celebrating America’s birthday a week early. Check back for more polling on Millennials next week.


‘The Other 4-Year Degree’: Why Everyone’s Talking About Apprenticeships, Mandi Woodruff, Yahoo! Finance

Blog: Cutting Access to Flexible Student Loan Repayment Plans Extremely Unpopular Among Millennials, Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles

Texas State Tech College Develops Skills Translator to Match Students With Jobs, Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Barack Obama Pushes For-Profit Colleges to the Brink, Allie Grasgreen, Politico