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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 22, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 22, 2016)

Happy hump day, Memo readers! Welcome to summer: when DC heat becomes oppressive and seasonal showers result in flooded metro stations. With just 25 days until Cleveland and 32 days until Philadelphia, veep scouting is well under way. In this week’s memo, 2 Clinton camp VP shortlisters are flexing their muscles to take on failing for-profit colleges. Find out who below. Please share this week’s edition and encourage your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and campaign staff to sign up for Millennial Memo.

CANDIDATE QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How would you ensure greater quality in America’s higher education system?

CLINTON CAMP PREVIEWS MILLENNIAL VOTER OUTREACH: “Clinton’s allies in the environmental, labor and women’s health communities are tapping into the same data, digital and other messaging tactics that Sanders used to such great effect in galvanizing millions of millennial supporters… [As for herself, Clinton’s] aides say she’ll embrace her age – 68, which is actually two years younger than Trump — and inner policy wonk. ‘She doesn’t need to be cool. She just needs to be who she is,’ said Sarah Audelo, the Clinton campaign’s youth vote director. ‘That’s what young people are interested in. Young people want authenticity.’ …The Clinton youth vote gameplan includes targeting different subgroups of the millennial generation on their own turf. High school students who will be 18 by Election Day can expect to get their own special pitch. Different messages will be directed at college students, young professionals just getting started in their careers and older millennials who have started families. Clinton’s youth-vote staffers are planning to take a listening tour of college campuses and other places where millennials work and congregate.” (Politico, June 20, 2016)
COLLEGE RNC CHAIR SAYS HIGHER ED MESSAGE AND PLAN WILL BE IMPERATIVE FOR TRUMP TO REACH MILLENNIALS: “Alexandra Smith, chair of the College Republican National Committee told NBC News conservative students were not swayed by radical education reform. ‘The good news for Republicans is that our research showed that young voters, and especially young independents, were not lured in by false promises of ‘free college,’’ Smith said. ‘Instead, these voters expressed a desire for candidates to propose solutions focused on finding new ways to pay for college as opposed to government just footing the bill.’ Yet, even Smith noted the importance of Trump highlighting education reform policies in order to sway young voters. ‘In the general election, it will be imperative that he bring that message and plan to campus this fall to reach young people.’” (NBC News, June 17, 2016)

SANDERS WON MORE YOUTH VOTES THAN CLINTON AND TRUMP COMBINED: “In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.
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The above chart comes from a report by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. It shows more than 2 million young people cast ballots for Sanders in the 21 states that voted by June 1 and where exit polls included data on the youth vote. Clinton and Donald Trump combined? Less than 1.6 million. Sanders, in fact, won about 29 percent more votes among those under the age of 30.” (Washington Post, June 20, 2016)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: “Clinton, in [last] week’s Bloomberg Politics national survey, enjoys a lead of 3 to 1 among likely voters aged 18 to 29, and more than a 3-to-2 advantage among 30- to 39-year-olds. These millennials still aren’t wild about the presumptive Democratic nominee. Her favorable ratings are far below Barack Obama’s. But Trump’s negatives are stunning: Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 83 percent have an unfavorable view of him… In the Selzer survey, more than three quarters of older Americans say they are likely to vote in November. Only 54 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 69 percent of the older millennials say the same. If this holds, it means turnout among the younger millennials would drop sharply from 2012, when they made up 19 percent of the whole electorate. That provides a challenge for the Clinton campaign. … Gary Johnson… gets about one in six millennials, twice the support he has from older voters.” (Bloomberg, June 15, 2016)

FAFSA SUBMITS ON THE DECLINE: “A trove of data released this week by the Department of Education shows fewer high school seniors are turning in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) than last year. As of June 3, submissions among high school seniors nationwide were down 4 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Although the department did not make national completion data available, officials suspect the decline is even higher as students often fail to fix mistakes after submitting the form. Between 9 percent and 10 percent of submitted FAFSA applications have not been completed in the last four years, according to the department.” (Washington Post, June 17, 2016)


BROWN PUSHING TO BAR FOR-PROFITS FROM MILITARY BASES: “The Senate [last] Tuesday approved a massive defense policy bill that includes Sen. Joe Manchin’s provision easing for-profit colleges’ access to military bases. The bill passed without the compromise language Manchin’s office said he had worked out with fellow Democrats who were strongly opposed to his amendment. The compromise version of the provision was the victim of a larger political fight… Manchin’s office tells [Politico that] he still believes the compromise language will be added during the conference committee… But there are already signs there could be a fight ahead. A spokeswoman for Sen. Sherrod Brown said he appreciates Manchin’s work on the issue but that Brown doesn’t believe ‘predatory for-profit colleges should be allowed on base where military members live and work in any capacity, and he will continue working to get the provision removed in conference.’” (Politico, June 15, 2016)

FOLLOWING WARREN’S CALL, DEPT OF ED SEEKS TO CURB POWER OF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE ACCREDITING BODY: “In a devastating 29-page report issued Wednesday, officials with the Department of Education find the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) failed to adequately comply with 21 different federal standards for accreditors. In response, the report recommends revoking ACICS’s status as an accreditor, which would effectively force it to shut down. Colleges must be accredited by a federally-recognized accreditor to receive federal student loans. If ACICS is shut down, then 243 schools with about 900 total campuses could lose their access to federal money if they are not quickly accredited by a different organization. Currently, those schools receive about $5 billion in student loans per year… ACICS has recently been in the crosshairs of lawmakers such as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who accuse it of providing lax oversight and allowing shady for-profit schools to repeatedly deceive and defraud students into spending thousands of dollars on low-value degrees.” (The Daily Caller, June 16, 2016)


PENNSYLVANIA–TOOMEY AND YORKTOWN U: Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) “is expected to get the Trump U treatment over his dealings with Yorktown University, a for-profit college that has been criticized for its lack of accreditation, questionable academic offerings and marketing to veterans who can receive government tuition aid. Toomey is an investor in the online program, served on its boards and agreed to appear in its marketing materials. Toomey’s campaign spokesman said the Senator was never a day-to-day player with the programs and argued that anyone trying to make Yorktown an issue is desperate… Yorktown pushed an online curriculum that was conservative and at times out of step with mainstream academic requirements… But the program never really took off. Its shaky finances and lack of accreditation prompted Colorado to ban Yorktown from offering degrees, forcing it to relocate to Florida, though the program still qualified for veterans to use G.I. Bill benefits. Toomey’s involvement with Yorktown came between his departure from the U.S. House after the 2004 elections and his election to the Senate in 2010. Tommey served on the school’s boards. His staff says the relationship was minor. ‘Many years ago, Senator Toomey was approached by an acquaintance about a new effort he was starting,’ Toomey communications director Ted Kwong tells TIME. ‘The Senator made a small contribution and lent his name to the organization, but that was the extent of his minimal involvement.’” (Time, June 20, 2016)

PENNSYLVANIA–McGINTY RESPONDS ON TOOMEY’S YORKTOWN CONNECTIONS: “Today, Katie McGinty, candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement after a TIME Magazine report revealed Senator Pat Toomey’s deep ties to Yorktown University, a scam, Trump University-style organization. Toomey is currently backing a bill that would make it easier for for-profit schools to target students, including veterans. ‘The TIME magazine story about Senator Toomey’s extensive ties with Yorktown University, a Trump University-style scam with ‘questionable academic offerings,’ is truly disturbing,’ said Katie McGinty.  ‘Pat Toomey needs to explain why he’s affiliated with something like this while also pushing legislation that would help shady for-profit schools continue to target students.’” (Katie McGinty for Senate, June 21, 2016)

NEW HAMPSHIRE–PRO-HASSAN LTE TARGETS AYOTTE ON STUDENT LOAN BILL: In a letter to the editor of the NH Union Leader, Hassan supporter Jessica Lu writes: “New Hampshire students who take the initiative to seek out higher education should not have to assume mountains of debt in order to obtain a degree and improve their future job prospects, and for the sake of students like me and our futures, the choice in New Hampshire’s upcoming senatorial race is clear. Sen. Kelly Ayotte appears to care little about investing in our futures. Instead of voting for an amendment that would have allowed students to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, she introduced a sham student loan bill that many called ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ and ‘a handout to the loan industry.’ In contrast, Gov. Maggie Hassan has worked tirelessly throughout her career to make life easier for New Hampshire students by freezing tuition at state colleges. And at community colleges, tuition even went down.” (Union Leader, June 16, 2016)

IOWA–JUDGE’S CAMPAIGN WEBSITE ISSUES PAGE DETAILS HER HIGHER ED AGENDA: “Patty will be an advocate for increased access to Pell Grants, allowing graduates to refinance student loans at lower interest rates (an effort Chuck Grassley has opposed), and supports two years of free tuition at community colleges for students who maintain high academic standards.” (

IOWA–GRASSLEY SAYS CITES COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY AS AREA OF FOCUS IF HE IS RE-ELECTED: “Grassley outlined college affordability and ag and energy policy as particular areas of focus should he be re-elected, saying he would work to ensure access to Pell grants and work-study programs for students and to maintain incentive programs for alternative energy production.” (The Des Moines Register, June 8, 2016)