Return to the Latest

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 11, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 11, 2015)

362 days to go…

Good morning, Millennial Memo readers! One debate down, one more to go this week. Buckle up! Here’s a roundup of all you need to know about 2016 and the issues most important to Millennials. And no, I am not talking about Baby Got PAC. Share this week’s Millennial Memo with your friends and sign up for updates here.

RUBIO HIGHLIGHTS ACCESS TO HIGHER ED AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING IN PLAN TO RAISE WAGES: When asked about his to increase wages, Senator Rubio said: “Make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers. If we do that,.. we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans and we will be able to leave everyone better off without making anyone worse off.” (Fox Business, 11/10/2015)

RUBIO’S LAUGH LINE ABOUT PHILOSOPHERS’ WAGES QUESTIONED: “The average annual salary of ‘welders, cutters, solderers, cutters and brazers’ was $40,040 in 2014, according to data from the United States Labor Department. That is basically the same as the median starting salary of newly graduated philosophy majors, which was $39,900, according to data from PayScale Inc. But that compares new college graduates at the start of their careers to welders at all stages of their careers. The median midcareer pay for philosophy majors was $81,200, according to PayScale. In the Labor Department data, postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers earned $71,350. In other words, a college graduate, even in a field that is not commercially oriented like philosophy, typically earns substantially more than a welder by the time they advance beyond the entry-level point of their career.” (The New York Times, 11/10/2015)

BUSH’S HIGHER ED PLAN COMING IN THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS: “Speaking [last week] in Manchester, New Hampshire, [Jeb Bush] says he plans to unveil a college affordability plan with ‘skin in the game’ for colleges in three weeks.” (Politico Morning Education, 11/5/2015)

TAX POLICY CENTER DISPUTES MATH BEHIND SANDERS’ COLLEGE PLAN’S PAY FOR: “Let’s look more specifically at Sanders’ College for All plan. ‘I want Wall Street now to help kids in this country go to college, public colleges and universities, free with a Wall Street speculation tax,’ Sanders said at Tuesday’s Democratic debate on CNN. Here’s how it would work: The federal government would pay $2 in matching funds for every dollar states spend on making tuition free at public colleges and universities. Also, it would cut student loan interest rates to about 2% for undergraduates, and allow those with student debt to refinance at low rates. The pricetag: up to $750 billion over 10 years. To pay for it, Sanders would impose a 0.5% fee on stock trades, 0.1% fee on bonds and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. This would raise up to $300 billion a year, according to Warren Gunnels, his policy director, citing a 2012 University of Massachusetts Amherst report. But a Tax Policy Center report that looked at levying a 0.5% fee on stock trades — along with an average 0.5% fee on bonds and 0.05% fee on derivatives — found that it would only raise about $51 billion a year, said Steve Rosenthal, a Tax Policy Center senior fellow. Gunnels called the center’s report ‘conservative.’” (CNN Money, 10/16/2015)

ANTI-CFPB MID-DEBATE ENTERTAINMENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY GROUP WITH CONNECTIONS TO STUDENT LOAN SERVICER LOBBYISTS: “Viewers of the [GOP] debate [yesterday] evening… repeatedly s[aw] an advertisement that casts… the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a roomful of bureaucratic automatons mercilessly stamping ‘DENIED’ on loan applications…. the group sponsoring it is led by lobbyists for Navient, a student loan company that the CFPB is currently investigating for allegedly cheating student loan borrowers… American Action Network board member [and Bush campaign advisor] Vin Weber is a lobbyist at Mercury LLC, where he is registered to work as a Navient lobbyist. On his registration forms, Weber says he specifically works on matters related to the CFPB. Weber’s colleague on the board, Tom Reynolds, is also a registered lobbyist for Navient through the law firm Nixon Peabody… In August, Navient informed investors that the CFPB, after a multi-year investigation of the firm, had found evidence that Navient is in violation of consumer protection laws and may soon face a lawsuit from the agency. Separate investigations have faulted Navient for misleading borrowers on a range of issues, while seeking to maximize penalties and late fees.” (The Intercept, 11/10/2015)
CLINTON LAUNCHES NEW AD TOUTING HER NEW COLLEGE COMPACT: Struggling to gain the majority of support from Millennial Democratic primary voters, the Clinton campaign this week launched a new ad called “Compact,” wherein Secretary Clinton details what her higher education reform agenda would mean for future students and current borrowers. The ad reads: “My plan, the New College Compact, says you should not have to borrow money to pay tuition if you go to a public college or university. You ought to be able to refinance student debt. And I don’t believe the federal government should be making a profit off of lending to young people who are borrowing to be able to get their education. We have got to make college affordable.” The intent of the ad seems clear: make inroads among Sanders supporters who have latched onto his tuition free college plan. (YouTube, 11/9/2015)

RUBIO PREVIEWS HIS GENERAL ELECTION MESSAGE ON HIGHER EDUCATION: “Our higher education system is completely outdated. It is too expensive, too hard to access, and it doesn’t teach 21st century skills. If we do what needs to be done… and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy.” (Fox Business, 11/10/2015)

FIORINA CALLS FOR ELIMINATION OF PUBLIC STUDENT LENDING: “When asked about the dramatic rise in student debt over the last several years, Fiorina again took aim at the federal government, saying it has taken over the student loan industry, which she said has eliminated choice. ‘The government should not be in student loans,’ she said. ‘The government loans you the money, tells you how much you pay (interest) and tells you where you can spend that money. That is not government doing its job.’” (Valley News, 11/6/2015)

AHEAD OF VETERAN’S DAY, O’MALLEY CALLS FOR CLOSING GI BILL FOR-PROFIT COLLEGE LOOPHOLE: Rolling out his Veterans policy agenda this week, Governor O’Malley pledged to “aggressively crack down on predatory for-profit colleges that prey on the education benefits of the Post-9/11 GI bill and leave veterans with unnecessary debt and a subpar education in return. Governor O’Malley will close the ‘90/10 loophole’ that allows this exploitation to continue. At the same time, he would dedicate VetStat to collect and track veterans’ educational and professional outcomes to ensure they are transitioning into rewarding careers.” (, 11/9/2015)


Racial Disparities in Higher Education: an Overview, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Beckie Supiano

Senate Inquiry Into Accreditation, Inside Higher Ed, Michael Stratford

Expanding tax credits has done little to help college students, The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel