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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 23, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (March 23, 2016)

Good Wednesday morning, folks! Safe travels to those spending this upcoming Easter weekend with family or friends. Here’s your weekly Millennial Memo blast. Look out for a new “Veepstakes” feature I’ll be rolling out in the next few weeks looking at where top VP contenders stand on higher ed and student debt. Please share this week’s memo with friends and colleagues and encourage others to sign up for updates here. Have a great week!

CLINTONS ZERO IN ON STATE DISINVESTMENT IN HIGHER ED: Speaking at Carl Hayden Community High School in Arizona, Clinton said: “I want to make college affordable for our young people… And we are going to ensure that we get the support we need from states. I think it is way past time for states to quit building more prisons and instead let’s invest in higher education again.” The Clinton campaign further highlighted Arizona’s education record in this new campaign ad called “Better” focused specifically on the issue. President Bill Clinton also zeroed in state disinvestment in Vancouver, Oregon. President Clinton told the crowd: “The cost of college [has] kept going up — especially in states where legislators, mostly Republican, had less money after the crash[, but] wanted to give tax cuts. They had to fund the [K-12] public schools, so they started underfunding the public colleges. So the colleges start behaving like private colleges and raising tuition. And that meant more and more young people wound up borrowing money, not from the good federal program, but outside that system. They got regular bank loans at high interest rates they couldn’t repay.”

SANDERS FEATURES AZ CONGRESSMAN IN NEW CAMPAIGN AD: In the new Sanders campaign ad, Opportunity, Rep. Raul Grijalva lauds Bernie Sanders for putting forward ideas to expand opportunity for young people like universal college. Check out the ad here.

TRUMP MAY HAVE TO TESTIFY THIS SUMMER IN TRUMP U LAWSUIT: “The plaintiffs in a years-long legal battle against Trump University are making a play for a trial date that could put Donald Trump on the witness stand around the time of the Republican National Convention. In a new court filing, they asked the judge to hold a trial this summer on parts of the class-action case … Rachel Jensen of San Diego, who represents the plaintiffs, argued that there should be at least a partial trial this summer …To keep putting off the trial while former students are trying to pay off thousands of dollars in credit card debt stemming from Trump University would ‘be as prejudicial as a loss,’ Jensen said in the filing. Trump’s lawyers made the opposite case during a hearing last week: The class-action fraud case against Trump University ‘will be a zoo if it goes to trial’ in August, Trump’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said. And he accused the plaintiffs’ lawyers of dumping the filing on the eve of a presidential debate in order to fan media attention.” (Politico, 3/17/2016)

PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYS HRC WANTS A “BIG INCREASE” IN THE PELL GRANT PROGRAM: In describing the Secretary’s plan while speaking in Vancouver, Oregon, President Clinton said: “[Hillary] wants a big increase in the Pell Grant so you can pay for supplies, living expenses, and help people get through without debt.”

DARK HORSE WH CONTENDER, SEN. BEN SASSE, WAS PREVIOUSLY A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: As reported by Mr. Playbook himself, last week a bunch of conservative benefactors met in New York and Washington to discuss, among other things, the possibility of mounting a conservative independent bid to stop Donald Trump. One of the names floated, freshman Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. The Christian Science Monitor reports, “[Sasse’s] last job was as the president of Midland University in Fremont, where he was brought in to reverse course at the financially troubled liberal arts school that is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. One of the youngest college presidents in the nation, he abolished tenure, cut back underperforming departments while building up others, and concentrated on recruiting.”

THE CASE FOR CAMPUS-BASED CHILD CARE: On the heels of recent legislation being introduced in Congress that would quintuple investment in the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) Program, the Atlantic is out with a story on what the program means for student parents struggling to balance school and family obligations. Here is what CCAMPIS has meant for just one student parent benefiting from the program. Boy, are these numbers a doozy. “Alejandra Lira, a 22-year-old nursing student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, discovered she was pregnant the first week of her first year… ‘I was worried about who was going to watch my son when I went to school,’ Lira said. ‘That was my main concern.’ Lira sought advice from another student parent, who pointed her to a university program that could help her pay for daycare through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program, a federal grant that subsidizes childcare for parents enrolled in college. She said thatwithout those funds, she would pay between $300 and $400 per week for daycare. With CCAMPIS subsidies, however, Lira pays just $360 per semester. Her son is almost four, and Lira will receive her bachelor’s degree in nursing in May. ‘I definitely wouldn’t have had any money to pay for daycare, and that would mean I wouldn’t be able to go to school.’” (The Atlantic, 3/21/2016)

THE YOUTH VOTE SO FAR: According to CIRCLE, before last night’s contests, “Well over 1.5 million young people have voted for Senator Sanders, nearly three times more youth votes than any other candidate in either party. Secretary Clinton has received the second-largest number of youth votes, 626,000, while Donald Trump is close behind with 611,000.”

RISING AMERICAN ELECTORATE WANTS TO HEAR MORE ON IMPROVING EDUCATION QUALITY: A new focus group memo from Stan Greenberg and Nancy Zdunkewicz’s Democracy Corps: “Improving the quality of education at all levels is a high priority [for the Rising American Electorate], and a growing concern compared to past focus groups. The women notice a difference between the education afforded to them and what is available to their children today: The white non-college unmarried women named this the highest priority of the next president: ‘I think that Obama really focused on healthcare and that the next president should probably be focusing on higher education and preschools probably.’ A strong message will include improving the quality of education for students at all levels in addition to making college affordable and reducing student loan debt.”


NEW HAMPSHIRE–HASSAN PITCHES GATEWAY TO WORK PLAN TO EXPAND APPRENTICESHIPS: Speaking at Manchester Community College earlier this month, NH Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Hassan touted a new proposal the Governor she is calling a Gateway to Work program. Hassan said Gateway to Work will “‘strengthen job training, create new apprenticeship opportunities, help remove the barriers that cause too many of our citizens to fail in the workplace and help our young people get a leg up on their futures.’… The program aims to serve 1,000 to 1,300 residents a year, according to her spokesman, William Hinkle. Hassan, who announced the program last month, didn’t give a pricetag in her speech, but Hinkle said the cost could range up to $15 million to $20 million a year over a five-year span… Hassan said the state would establish a partnership between the Community College System of New Hampshire and the business community to form apprentice programs ‘in high-need areas’ such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, networking and health care. The state also would provide job-training grants. ‘This will help ensure that workers can get a fair shot at a new career while providing businesses with the workforce that they need to grow and to thrive,’ Hassan said. Many New Hampshire business owners have cited difficulties in finding enough workers to fill job openings, especially for skilled positions.” (Union Leader, 3/2/2016)

OHIO–IN NEW CAMPAIGN AD, STRICKLAND SAYS PORTMAN VOTED TO CUT PELL GRANTS: On the heels of his primary victory last week, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland’s campaign released a new ad called “Beltway Rob” … Embedded in the section of the ad on Portman’s Congressional career, a narrator says “in the Senate, he voted to cut Pell Grants” while graphic with the words “Rob Portman: Cut Pell Grants” appears on the screen.

OHIO–PORTMAN DROPS NEW CAREER & TECHNICAL ED BILL: Last week, Senator Rob Portman, who also serves as co-chair of the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan CTE Caucus, joined his co-chair colleagues Sens. Capito, Kaine, and Baldwin in introducing “the CTE Excellence & Equity Act to support re-designing the high school experience by making courses more relevant to students’ future careers. The bill would provide federal funding for partnerships between school districts, employers and institutions of higher education [to]… states that integrate high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs into high schools… ‘Far too many young people don’t have an opportunity to gain the skills and experience get a good paying job,’ Portman stated. ‘The CTE Excellence and Equity Act would help give more high school students the opportunity to participate in high quality CTE programs that provide college credit, workplace skills, and opportunities for internships and apprenticeship programs.’”

IOWA–GRASSLEY JOINS SENATE CTE CAUCUS: Earlier this month, “Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has joined the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, focused on making sure students have the technical skills needed to succeed in highly specialized workplaces. ‘I met with several Iowa students who asked me to join the caucus,’ Grassley said. ‘They emphasized the important point that job success and economic growth are tied to skills training. Students who have the training employers need have the best chance at filling jobs in high demand fields. I hear from employers across Iowa who are looking to fill good, well-paying jobs if they can find skilled employees. We need to make sure Iowans are in a position to take advantage of those opportunities.’ The caucus holds briefings and other events on developments in the field to help make sure Congress is hearing the latest information to inform policy debates that support career and technical education.”