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2016 Millennial Memo (June 10, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 Millennial Memo (June 10, 2015)

It’s that time again, folks. Happy Millennial Memo Wednesday. In what may have been the most active weekend on the campaign trail yet, pork wasn’t the only thing being served up in the Hawkeye State. Higher education reform was on the tip of candidates’ tongues all weekend.
OUT THIS MORNING: I want you to be the first to know. Today, Young Invincibles releases a well-targeted debt-free college plan to reform higher education and ease the burden of student debt. The plan includes cost estimates of specific policy proposals, assessments of how different reforms would impact borrowers by income quartile, and more. Check it out here.
DID THE DONALD JUST COME OUT FOR A HALLMARK WARREN INITIATIVE?: When asked about managing student debt at his Make America Great Again! event in Mason City, Iowa event last week, Trump said, “The problem that we have is that the government is making money on [student] loans… They make money on college students, kids that want to go to college and learn and be productive people. The government is making money on your [loans].” When asked whether student borrowers should be able to refinance their loans, Trump said: “You might do that.” (Audio here.)
HE’S GOT FRIENDS ACROSS THE AISLE: Speaking to a group of students in New Hampshire, former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) recently said: “You can finance a home at less than you can finance your college education. And sadly, if you can’t finance your college education you’re never going to be able to buy a home.” An attendee of the event cheered O’Malley’s comments: “As a college student, it’s important to hear politicians speaking about the issue of college loans and student debt… It’s really crippling.”
GRAHAM GIVES THUMBS UP FOR REFINANCING, CALLS FOR MORE PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS: When asked whether he would support giving student loan borrowers the opportunity to refinance, Graham said: “Yes, but I will not support the government taking over financing of higher education. To those that are paying your student loan back, it’s the best investment you’ll ever make because the college degree will up your earnings compared to not having one… As to refinancing the student loan, absolutely, and I would open it up to competition. Rather than having the Department of Education being the only bank, I would allow more people to compete for student loan business, because the more competition for your business, the better off you are.” (Audio here.)
MIKE HUCKABBE CALLS FOR A WAY TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS: When asked about student loan interest rates at a recent meet and greet in Indianola, former Governor Huckabee (R-AR): “I think you probably should take advantage of the lowest interest rates now, because they’re never going to be lower.” When informed informed that federal student loans like a home or auto loan, Governor Huckabee said: “There should be a way that you could [refinance].” (Audio here.)
JANET HUCKABEE CALLS 8 PERCENT STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATE “INSANE”: In the same exchange, Mrs. Huckabee described a student loan with an 8 percent interest rate as “insane” and “like taking out a plain old loan.” (Audio here.)
HILLARY SAYS SHE WANTS TO UNVEIL A DEBT-FREE COLLEGE PLAN: Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti and Ken Vogel report that a donor attending an Austin, Texas fundraiser last Thursday revealed that Secretary Clinton “didn’t go deep into details, [but] she said she wants to unveil a ‘debt-free’ college plan.”
DEBT-FREE COLLEGE — THE NEXT HEALTH CARE REFORM?: NBC News’ Perry Bacon writes: “Debt-free college would also be the kind of big, galvanizing issue that could help Clinton define her campaign and potentially her presidency, as expanding health insurance was for President Obama… The resolution… is vague, and there is not an unified vision from progressives for exactly how this proposal would work… But a bloc of education reformers, including many on the right, have strong reservations about simply expanding college access to more Americans. They instead want to overhaul today’s college system through the use of online-courses and other technology.”
RUBIO SAYS COLLEGES INCREASE TUITION WHEN FEDERAL AID FOR STUDENTS INCREASES: When asked whether he would support increasing investment in the Pell Grant, Senator Rubio (R-FL) said: “Well, the problem with [the Pell Grant] – I don’t want to cut it for sure, but the problem is that it’s the colleges that keep raising the tuition rates to pay for… [sic] administrators… The administrative bloat in colleges is extraordinary around the country. Every time you put more money into federal aid, they increase their tuition even higher.” (Audio here).
GRAHAM CALLS FOR TIGHTENING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR PELL GRANTS: At a recent town hall in West Des Moines, when asked whether he would support increasing investment in the Pell Grant, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “Pell grants are being given to people who don’t need them as much as others. So for every one percent increase in a Pell Grant, it’s $100 million for the United States Treasury. What we are doing is being everything to everybody… So when it comes to Pell Grants, the very first thing I’d do is I’d restructure them, because i think we’ve let the income level rise beyond what it was intended for.” (Audio here.)
RUBIO CALLS FOR PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT: On the stump at a Meet and Greet with Marco event in Ames, Iowa, Senator Rubio (R-FL) said: “We need flexible higher education programs that allow older workers who are working full-time and raising a family to get a degree based on what you know, not how many hours you sat in a classroom. So for starters, you will get credit for what you already know. If you’ve been working for years as a home health aid, we’re going to give you credit for that work and then we’re going to allow you to get the rest of your credits online, on weekends, at night, on your own pace so you can package learning from a variety of different sources. Instead of having to go to a traditional college, spend a bunch of money, sit there for four years.” (Video here.)
JOHN EDWARDS’S INVISIBLE HAND: The Washington Post’s Jim Tankersley writes: “John Edwards will never be president, but everyone running for the job today is cribbing from his campaign… Democrats haven’t just paid homage to Edwards’s rhetoric. They have also adopted his platform… Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, advocates making college ‘as debt-free as possible.’ Guess who promised free college for all qualified students, way back in 2008?”
PERRY PROMISES TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT STUDENT DEBT; SPOTLIGHT SHIFTS TO HIS RECORD AS GOVERNOR: The Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports on former Governor Rick Perry’s (R-TX) announcement speech last week and on his previous record. “‘I know you are facing… skyrocketing tuition costs, and mounting student loan debt. I hear you, and I am going to do something about it.‘” According to Douglas-Gabriel, “Perry’s record on the subject was mixed. He called on colleges to set tuition caps, and broadened access to higher education for undocumented immigrants. But some education officials in Texas say Perry’s policies did more to add to the burden of student debt than relieve it. As governor of the Lone Star state for 14 years, Perry supported hundreds of millions of dollars in spending cuts for public universities. To offset lower funding from the state, colleges in Texas raised tuition, leading more students to borrow to cover expenses.”
TRUMP’S “MORE JOBS” COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY PLAN: When asked how he would make college more affordable on the trail in Iowa last week, Donald Trump said: “You need jobs. The biggest problem with college is people are graduating from good colleges and they can’t get jobs when they get out because the jobs are in China – and they’re all over the place, but they’re not here. The biggest problem we have with college is that people are going through  – they’re doing great, they’re getting great marks and grades – and they get out and they can’t get a job. We’re going to create jobs in this country. That’s what you need.” (Audio here.) 
MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new poll of 561 registered North Carolina voters, including oversamples of 277 Republican primary voters and 274 Democratic primary voters, confirms North Carolina should remain a swing state for 2016. While candidates might face close match-ups in the General, North Carolinians (18 to 29) overwhelmingly support Clinton over her Republican rivals. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, here is how the candidates match-up:
Clinton 57, Bush 25
Clinton 57, Carson 23 
Clinton 54, Christie 26 
Clinton 60, Cruz 22 
Clinton 50, Fiorina 24
Clinton 52, Huckabee 28 
Clinton 50, Paul 31
Clinton 52, Rubio 28
Clinton 47, Walker 35
Chafee 30, Walker 30
O’Malley 21, Walker 34
Sanders 31, Walker 31
Webb 33, Walker 29
Hillary Clinton needs a Sister Souljah moment, Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post
Class of 2015 is Summa Cum Lucky in the Job Market, Josh Zumbrun, The Wall Street Journal
Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans, Lee Siegel, The New York Times: Sunday Review