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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 29, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (June 29, 2016)
Good morning, Memo readers. With the June wave of primaries behind us, expect more down ballot races to begin in earnest after the July 4th holiday weekend. We’re just 18 days until the RNC in Cleveland, 25 days until the DNC in Philly, and 131 days until Election Day. You’re not going to want to miss a thing. Share this week’s Millennial Memo with your colleagues and friends, and encourage them to stay in the know by signing up for updates here.

CLINTON UNVEILS TECH AND INNOVATION PLAN INCLUDING MEASURES TO ALLEVIATE BURDEN OF STUDENT DEBT FOR ENTREPRENEURS: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton [announced] a plan [yester]day to provide student loan relief to ‘entrepreneurs and innovators’ — a proposal she hopes will spur young people to start new business ventures and create jobs. The proposal will allow aspiring entrepreneurs to ‘put their federal student loans into a special status’ for three years, where the loans will not accrue interest, allowing those entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground without worrying about their student debt, a campaign aide told Mic. And for entrepreneurs who launch businesses and hire workers in ‘distressed communities,’ they will be able to apply for loan forgiveness up to $17,500 of their student debt, the aide said. ‘Early joiners’ of those start-up companies — the first 10 to 20 employees — will also be eligible to apply for the student loan deferral program. Clinton hopes the proposal will inspire millennials to launch businesses and create jobs. ‘A smaller proportion of millennials today are starting new ventures as compared to their predecessors,’ the Clinton aide said.” (Mic, June 28, 2016)

HIGHER ED EXPERTS REACT TO CLINTON’S PLAN: The Urban Institute’s Senior Fellow Matt Chingos writes: “Efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship through changes to the student loan system are likely to be inefficient and unfair. Clinton’s interest-free deferral proposal, for example, would provide the largest benefits to the borrowers with the largest loans. These high-debt borrowers may or may not be those most in need of taxpayer subsidies to help them start a new business, as the amount borrowed depends on a range of factors including family income, the college attended, and work and spending habits while in college. The student loan program is already used for too many purposes for which it is ill-suited, such as subsidizing the employment of borrowers in the public and nonprofit sectors. There is nothing inherently wrong with subsidizing certain sectors of the economy—whether struggling nonprofits or Silicon Valley startups. But policymakers should do so directly, such as through tax credits, rather than through the student loan system.”

“I think it’s great to support entrepreneurship and innovation and to entice the millennial generation to support those things, especially in distressed communities,” Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy told [Fusion]… when… asked for her initial impression of the proposal. “But, as with all political plans, the devil is really in the details.”

Jason Delisle, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. “Someone starting a business generally wouldn’t be showing any income on their tax return, so they wouldn’t need to make any payments if they’re enrolled in an income-based plan,” he said. “So what would this [proposal] add? Yet another complicated option to achieve the same thing that the income-based program already does? Delisle also finds Clinton’s debt forgiveness plan for entrepreneurs puzzling at a time when the Obama administration has been dialing back its existing forgiveness plans. Under the newest repayment plan, anyone who borrowed for graduate school will have to make payments for 25 years, five years longer than everyone else, to have their remaining balance forgiven. That change addresses growing concern that the government could sink the program if it continues to offer grad students, who tend to borrow and earn more, generous debt forgiveness.”

PRIORITIES USA LAUNCHES MILLENNIAL VOTER TARGETING CAMPAIGN: “Priorities USA Action, the major super PAC supporting likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, is broadening its campaign against her Republican rival with a new generational appeal urging young voters to “Stop Trump/Stop Hate.” On Thursday, the group is launching a multimillion-dollar online campaign against Donald Trump, targeting millennials with digital ads and a “We Can Stop Hate” website with shareable images of the real estate developer’s provocative tweets and a call for people to share acts of kindness. The site, which seeks to harness the social media networks of millennials, also encourages young people to register to vote and will offer branded merchandise.” (Washington Post, 6/23/2016)


MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new ABC-Washington Post poll finds a substantial shift in who young voters are supporting since last month. In May 2016, Clinton led Trump among 18-29 year-olds 45 percent to 42 percent — just a 3 point spread. This month’s poll finds that 18-29 year-olds are supporting Clinton 51 percent to Trump’s 31 percent — a 20 point spread.


COLORADO–GLENN WINS BID TO CHALLENGE BENNET: “Darryl Glenn, a tea-party favorite from the conservative stronghold of Colorado Springs, decisively won Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary Tuesday and will face incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in November… Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner and self-described Christian constitutionalist conservative, was the only candidate voted directly to the primary at the state GOP convention. He won endorsements from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the tea party-aligned Senate Conservatives Fund, which poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his campaign.” (Associated Press, 6/28/2016)

FLORIDA–FOR FLORIDA’S FUTURE TO HOLD CANDIDATES ACCOUNTABLE FOR STUDENT DEBT POSITIONS: “For Florida’s Future, a joint super PAC and 501(c)4 organization, aims to highlight and hold accountable candidates for their words and records on specific issues including climate change, student debt and retirement security. The group is affiliated with the national For Our Future PAC led by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate and the AFL-CIO; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the American Federation of Teachers; and the National Education Association.” (Tampa Bay Times, 6/25/2016)

NEVADA–UNLV & UNR STUDENTS JOIN NV DEM PARTY IN HITTING HECK ON VOTES: “A war of words broke out last week after a group of UNLV and UNR students backed by the state Democratic Party criticized Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Heck for his support of for-profit colleges and his votes to cut some student loans. The students cited Heck’s two previous House votes to eliminate mandatory funding for federal student loans and to repeal regulations that defined minimum standards on for-profit colleges to be authorized by a state. ‘Congressman Heck’s support for for-profit colleges — along with his votes to cut Pell Grants — makes it clear that he is more concerned with siding with the special interests and his party bosses in Washington, than supporting Nevada’s current and future students,’ said Sarah Zukowski, spokeswoman for the Nevada State Democratic Party.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/12/2016)

NEVADA–HECK CAMPAIGN RESPONDS BY QUESTIONING CORTEZ MASTO’S COMMITMENT TO NV STUDENTS: “Heck campaign manager Brian Baluta pointed out that one Democratic opponent, Catherine Cortez Masto, had previously been appointed executive vice chancellor at the Nevada System of Higher Education in late 2014 after being termed out as the state attorney general. But she resigned within a semester to run for retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s seat, the office Heck is also seeking. Heck, a Republican, and Cortez Masto, a Democrat, are the favorites of their respective parties in Tuesday’s primary. ‘That’s some commitment to Nevada’s students,’ Baluta said Thursday. ‘While Joe Heck, a father of three, including a current UNR student, was making college more affordable and accessible by capping student loan interest rates and streamlining the financial aid process, Catherine Cortez Masto was abusing the Nevada System of Higher Ed as her own for-profit university — enriching herself through a $215,000 taxpayer-paid job thanks to her political connections.’” (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/12/2016)

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(Source: Rep. Joe Heck’s Facebook Account, June 22, 2016)

PENNSYLVANIA–MCGINTY HITS TOOMEY FOR VOTING TO GET RID OF GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT RULE WHILE INVESTING IN DEFUNCT FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE: “Democrat Katie McGinty is challenging incumbent Pat Toomey for supporting a bill to roll back regulations opposed by for-profit colleges — and for his ties to Yorktown University, an online educator that drew little notice until this week. ‘Senator Toomey needs immediately to divest the money he has invested in Yorktown University and rescind his support for legislation that would help shady for-profit colleges,’ Ms. McGinty said this week, referring to Mr. Toomey’s co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 559. That Republican-backed bill would overturn regulations including a “gainful employment” rule, enacted by the Obama administration, which pulls federal financial aid from for-profit schools where student debt dramatically outpaces post-graduation earnings. Ms. McGinty’s demand that Mr. Toomey divest himself from Yorktown may be moot. His financial disclosure statements value his Yorktown investment at under $1,000. It may now be worth even less. [Yorktown] shut down entirely last week, after it was unable to make a credit payment.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 24, 2016)