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2016 Millennial Memo (June 3, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 Millennial Memo (6/3/2015)

523 days to go…

Good morning, Millennial Memo readers! Catch new polling on Millennials’ views of presidential candidates at the bottom of this email. Missed last week’s memo? Be sure to find it here. It seems the only thing growing faster than our nation’s outstanding student debt level is the pool of Republican presidential candidates. Here’s what one of the latest entrants has to say about student debt.

PATAKI SAYS GOVT. SHOULDN’T PROFIT OFF OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS: Last month, former New York Governor George Pataki decried federal student loan interest rates as too high: “The government should not make a profit off the backs of students borrowing to advance their education. The government should not charge a higher interest rate–that is absolutely necessary to repay the loans.” (Video here at 0:50.)

UW DEAN QUESTIONS WALKER’S PRIORITIES AFTER $250M PUBLICLY-FINANCED ARENA ANNOUNCED FOR SPORTS TEAM: In a Wisconsin Journal Sentinel op-ed, UW-Milwaukee Dean Stan Stojkovic wrote: “I cannot help but feel that the expressed priorities of Gov. Scott Walker and the state Legislature are bad for Wisconsin and bad public policy. We learned in the past week that the Milwaukee Bucks are in line for a new arena to the tune of $250 million in taxpayer dollars (and likely far more once interest costs are included)… At the same time, the UW System faces a budget cut of at least $250 million.”

NEW YORK POST PUTS RUBIO ON CAST OF DC INSIDERS CALLED ON BY FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES: Here’s the list–Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sally Stroup, and Rep. John Kline (R-MN)

PUSH BACK ON SANDERS’S TUITION-FREE COLLEGE PLAN: While generally agreeing that college has become unaffordable, Washington Post columnist Charles Lane critiqued Senator Sanders’s tuition free college plan: “Sanders’s solution, which he says would cost the Treasury $47 billion in its first year, amounts to a single-payer system for higher ed — with pros and cons analogous to those of such a system for health care. There’s a certain appeal in replacing the current, convoluted array of grants and loans, funneled through individuals, with just one revenue stream directed at institutions… the Sanders plan might make U.S. higher education more accessible but less excellent. Having ruled out price as a means of allocating scarce educational resources, his plan would have to rely on aggressive administrative controls, lest students flood the system and drive up costs.”

Kevin James of the the American Enterprise Institute wrote for U.S. News & World Report: “Sanders framed the need for free public college by saying that, ‘in a global economy, when our young people are competing with workers from around the world, we have got to have the best educated workforce possible. And, that means that we have got to make college affordable.’ … The reality is that free public college would make it harder to achieve them… The idea would cost $70 billion per year, more than twice what the federal government spends on Pell grants. And much of that money would provide a free education to students whose families can already afford it.”
OTHERS LAUDED THE VT SENATOR’S PROPOSAL, SUGGESTING IT COULD LESSEN RACIAL DISPARITIES: In an interview with TakePart Live, Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sara Goldrick-Rab said Sanders’s plan “‘is a marker–it is goal setting… Like the movement for free public high school before it, this process must begin by introducing the idea before it proceeds to pragmatic implementation steps.’ Along with creating a workforce that can compete with China’s or South Korea’s, free four-year college tuition could also give African Americans a boost up the income-inequality ladder, Goldrick-Rab says. She points to [this] report, [which finds] there’s a ‘substantial racial disparity’ between black and white families when it comes time to pay for college… College-bound African American students are more likely than whites to borrow money and are likely to leave college with far more student debt.”

SUPPORT ON THE HILL BUILDS FOR DEBT-FREE COLLEGE RESOLUTION: In The Guardian: “Could debt-free college be to 2016 what healthcare reform was to 2008? Some liberal Democrats are sure hoping so. [Last] Wednesday, nine Democratic senators came out in support of a resolution to make four-year public colleges in the US debt-free. The resolution, proposed last month by senators Brian Schatz, Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, calls on the federal government to provide states with support so that they can lower tuition costs, increase financial aid, reduce the burden of existing student debt… The increased support for the resolution adds pressure on potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates to either endorse the resolution or come up with a plan of their own, with supporters of the debt-free college measure particularly interested in seeing where Hillary Clinton will come out on the issue.”

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK: The Department of Education is set to make an announcement any day now about which Corinthian students will — and will not — be eligible for debt discharge in light of the school’s recent announcement that it was closing all campuses immediately.

HOUSE CMTE CHAIRMAN SUPPORTS CORINTHIAN DEBT DISCHARGE–WHAT SAY YOU PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES?: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that House Education and Workforce Committee Chariman John Kline (R-MN) “said in a statement that he supports loan forgiveness for former Corinthian students… ‘A lot of lives have been severely disrupted by this unfortunate situation and I support discharging the loans for those eligible students who were in the process of earning a degree.'”

COUNSEL FOR FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE TRADE GROUP CHALLENGING GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT REGS REPRESENTED 43 IN BUSH V. GORE: According to the Republic Report‘s David Halperin: “Before U.S. District [Court for the District of Columbia] Judge John Bates, APSCU’s CEO, former congressman Steve Gunderson,.. [was joined by] a lawyer from APSCU’s law firm, the litigation powerhouse Gibson Dunn… Douglas Cox, a Gibson Dunn partner who boasts on the firm website that he ‘played a principal role in the firm’s successful representation of the prevailing candidate before the Supreme Court of the United States in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board and Bush v. Gore,’ argued for APSCU.”

JINDAL HITS ROADBLOCK: According to the Times Picayune’s Julia O’Donoghue, “Gov. Bobby Jindal is having trouble getting one of the bills that is key to keeping his national ‘no tax’ pledge through the Louisiana House of Representatives. The Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee declined to hear a bill (SB 284) Monday morning that would have established a higher education tax credit to cover a student fee that doesn’t yet exist. The legislation is largely viewed as a way to meet ‘no tax’ guidelines established by Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, D.C. advocacy group that Jindal wants to please. It does not have enough support [to] move forward in the lawmaking process.”

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: You may have read that Hillary Clinton’s unfavorables are their highest in 14 years, but what about among Millennials? A new CNN/ORC poll of 1,052 adults from May 29-31, 2015 found Clinton leading her Republican rivals among 18- to 34-year-olds by significant margins (+/- 7.5%).
Clinton 67, Bush 28
Clinton 58, Rubio 38
Clinton 55, Paul 43
Clinton 60, Walker 37
Clinton 61, Cruz 33

18- to 34-year-olds also said Clinton “represents the future” by a 64% to 33% margin (a +31 percentage point difference). The same group said Jeb Bush “represents the past” by a 70% to 27% margin (a -43 percentage point difference). 

For-Profit Colleges Lose Bid to Scuttle Government Rules, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post
Want to Be an Entrepreneur? Beware of Student Debt, Chana R. Schoenberger, The Wall Street Journal
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