Return to the Latest

2016 Millennial Memo (May 27, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 Millennial Memo (May 27, 2015)
530 days to go…

WALKER RESPONDS ON UW SYSTEM CUTS: From an interview with local interview WXOW reporter Ginna Roe, “When asked about his proposed $300 million in cuts to the UW System, Walker defended the cuts. ‘2.5 percent, any of us I think can make an adjustment certainly in our businesses in our own homes. That’s all we’re talking about. 2.5 percent of the entire University of Wisconsin System budget.’ Walker said it’s a small amount when you consider the entirety of the UW System. ‘Four years ago, the same detractors said that education wasn’t going to work because of our reform. Four years later, graduation rates are higher, reading scores are higher, ACT scores are second best in the country,’ he said.”
WISCONSIN LAWMAKERS REJECT WALKER PROPOSAL TO AXE FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE REGULATORY BOARD: According to the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Dan Simmons, “The [Wisconsin] Legislature’s budget committee has rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to do away with a small state agency that approves and regulates for-profit colleges. It’s a sign the Educational Approval Board will continue unchanged after being targeted for elimination since February.”

CHRISTIE DISCUSSES RECORD ON HIGHER ED INVESTMENT: At an event last month in Newmarket, N.H., Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) talked about increases in New Jersey’s state tuition aid grants for the last 3 years and $1.2 billion in capital improvements to the state’s universities as ways to keep tuition down. When asked whether that has helped tuition stay flat, Christie said, “Well, no, but it’s started to tick back down because we just started to make those investments last year. So we passed the bonds issue last year. So now the last year and a half, they have been building the buildings and I think that’s going to really help because they’ve had to do that all on their own for the last 25 years. I’m the first Governor in 25 years to invest in capital improvements in our colleges and universities.” (Video here.)

NEW REPORT FINDS NJ HIGHER ED FUNDING IS WAY DOWN, DEBT WAY UP:’s Adam Clark reports: “New Jersey’s ‘lackluster’ financial support of its colleges and universities has led to increased tuition, ballooning student debt and erosion in the quality of higher education, according to a new report. The state’s higher education funding has dropped by more 22 percent since 2008 when adjusted for inflation, a decrease of more than $2,150 per student, according to an analysis by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a Trenton-based public policy research group. Meanwhile, average four-year tuition costs in New Jersey grew by 23.7 percent between 2004 and 2013 while the average family income fell by 7.3 percent with inflation factored into both calculations. As a result, average student debt for New Jersey students rose by 40.5 percent when adjusted for inflation, the report said.”

DEM POLLSTER WEIGHS IN ON STUDENT DEBT: In an interview with the Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said “he thinks student debt is as important to millennials ‘war and peace issues’ were to baby boomers… it’s a crucial motivator to get younger people to vote… student debt is often the defining economic fact of their lives.”
HUCKABEE CONCERNED ABOUT IMPACT OF STUDENT DEBT ON HOUSING MARKET: In his first speech as an official candidate, Huckabee expressed concern about student debt’s affect on the housing market, “one-in-four American families is paying more than half their income for housing. Home ownership is at its lowest level in decades and young people with heavy student debt aren’t likely to afford their first home for a while.
TOP-ED OF THE WEEK: Low Cost College Isn’t Enough, by David Perry in last week’s CNN Opinion: “I hope that the cost of college becomes a major political issue. But let’s remember that low cost must be paired with high quality. High quality means providing good jobs for the people asked to prepare students for good jobs of their own. It means building educational structures with lots of face time, individualized education, and support systems for those new to learning. Otherwise, we can cut costs down to nothing, but we won’t help the people most in need. To fix higher ed, the focus on savings must be accompanied by a massive public reinvestment in teaching and advising.
CLINTON RECEIVED $225K FOR SPEECH FROM JEB BUSH-AFFILIATED ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS: Lee Fang reporting for the Intercept: “Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received nearly a quarter of a million dollars last year for a speaking engagement on behalf of Academic Partnerships, a for-profit education company in which Jeb Bush held an ownership stake and on whose board he served. Clinton’s newly filed personal financial disclosure shows that she was paid $225,500 on March 24, 2014 by Academic Partnerships. At the invitation-only event in Dallas, Texas, Clinton reportedly said, “today a student doesn’t need to travel to Cambridge, Mass., or Cambridge, England, to get a world-class education.” Academic Partnerships assists universities in converting their academic degree programs into online versions that can be taken by students around the world.”
CHRISTIE PROMISES ANSWER ON BOOSTING PELL GRANTS, IF HE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT: At the same event, when asked whether he would support boosting investment in the Pell grant, which helps low-income students be able to afford college, Christie said, “Well, we’ll see. You know, if I decide to run for president, I’ll definitely answer that one.” (Video here.)
WARREN UNLOADS ON NEED TO REDUCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES: In an appearance last month on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), when discussing the need to lower student loan interest rates, “Why can’t we just say, ‘look, that’s not what we should be doing as a country.’ We should not say to kids, if your mom and dad can write a check for college, you pay this much for college, but if they can’t, you have got to pay a much higher rate because you have to pay more on your student loans.”
RAND ON REFI: At a “Disrupting Democracy” event with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), hosted in San Francisco earlier this month by Lincoln Labs and Brigade, SF Weekly reports that “when asked about his opposition to a bill that would allow people to refinance their student loans, [Senator Paul] mocked the idea that college should be free, saying, ‘That’s ridiculous. That’s absurd.'” (SF Weekly)
RUBIO CALLS FOR OVERHAUL OF HIGHER ED SYSTEM; SPECIFICS YET TO COME: According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Greg Bluesmen, earlier this month, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) “told Georgia Republican delegates that he would overhaul the higher education system… Rubio told the crowd he would encourage more students to go into vocational fields and offer more pathways for non-traditional students to get college degrees. ‘We need competition in higher education. We need choices in higher education so that people who are working full time and also raising a family can receive a certificate.'”
RUBIO-WYDEN’S STUDENT-RIGHT-TO-KNOW-BEFORE-YOU-GO ACT GETS BIPARTISAN HOUSE INTRO: According to Inside Higher Ed: “Newly introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives would enable the linking of student-level enrollment information with data on employment and wages. The bipartisan bill would provide post-graduate earnings averages at both the institutional and academic program levels… It would make public these and other performance data about higher education by overturning the ban on a federal ‘student unit record’ system and freeing up existing, but currently unavailable information… Dubbed the ‘Student Right to Know Before You Go Act,’ it mirrors a companion bill that a bipartisan group of Senators previously introduced, including Marco Rubio.”
CLINTON SOUNDS THE ALARM ON INDEBTEDNESS: On the campaign trail in Mason City, Iowa last week, Clinton said: “We have got to make sure that college is affordable, and that cannot happen at the rate we are going unless we change the way we fund college education for young people who wish to have that experience. Many of us in this room, like I did, borrowed money to be able to college, but then we were able to pay it back because it wasn’t such an overwhelming burden as it has become now. The average student in Iowa graduates with $30,000 in debt and that then makes it very difficult for them to start a business, buy a new home, or even get married as one young man told me not so long ago. So we have to deal with the indebtedness to try to move toward making college as debt free as possible. I’m 100 percent behind President Obama’s proposal for free community college. We’ve got to try to get that through, and then we’ve got to try to do everything we can to make college available and affordable to all of our young people.” (C-SPAN)
MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new Fox News poll of 1,006 registered voters conducted May 9-12, 2015 found some surprisingly close match-ups for Millennial voters’ support. Among those polled under 35, here are how the Republican candidates stack up against Hillary.
Clinton 45, Bush 43
Clinton 46, Cruz 43
Clinton 46, Rubio 40
Clinton 47, Walker 40
Clinton 48, Carson 40
Clinton 48, Kasich 38
Clinton 52, Fiorina 32
Clinton 47, Huckabee 42
Have someone you think should receive this blast? Have a tip? Write me at