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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 18, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 18, 2015)

355 days to go…

Morning folks! We are almost there. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Yours truly is looking forward to some time with family, friends, and, of course, plenty of food and vino. This is your last edition of Millennial Memo this month, so be sure to catch up on the latest updates below. Share this week’s Millennial Memo with your colleagues and friends, and sign up for updates here.

CARSON SAYS FREE COLLEGE WOULD LEAD TO THE UNITED STATES’S DESTRUCTION: “Ben Carson, a Republican presidential hopeful, on Wednesday blasted Democrats’ various plans for debt-free or tuition-free college, saying they would hasten ‘the destruction of the nation.’ Speaking at Liberty University, Carson warned against the dangers of uninformed voters who would believe ‘propaganda’ from ‘unscrupulous politicians and news media.’ ‘‘‘If they don’t really understand the financial situation of the country and somebody comes along and says, ‘‘free college for everybody,’’ they’ll say, ‘‘oh, what a wonderful person,’’” Carson said. ‘‘They have no idea that all you’re talking about is hastening the destruction of the nation.’’” (Inside Higher Ed, 11/12/2015)

GOP MILLENNIALS NAME FIORINA WINNER OF FOX BUSINESS DEBATE: “The College Republican National Committee (CRNC) along with G2 Analytics hosted a web-based focused group during the FOX Business Network and Wall Street Journal debate surveying both Republican and Independent Millennial voters. In data provided exclusively to, the CRNC found that overall Millennials aged 18-29 resonated the most with Carly Fiorina during the debate, with 81% more likely to support her. The top five candidates that Millennials resonated with: Carly Fiorina, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Written responses in the poll cited Fiorina as articulating her positions and policies clearly and providing answers that were solutions oriented. ‘We see candidates succeed if they have specific policy solutions for the future’ says Alex Smith, National Chairman of the CRNC. ‘Millennials are solutions oriented. They want to hear problem solvers talk about challenges of the day and how they’ll solve them.’” (Fox Business, 11/16/2015)

MAJORITY OF MILLENNIAL GOP PRIMARY VOTERS STILL UP FOR GRABS: The CRNC-G2 focus group also finds that “for GOP candidates looking to pick up votes from Millennials, they shouldn’t ignore their performance in the debate as the CRNC concluded that the majority of those surveyed said a debate performance was ‘influential’ in helping determine who they support… But of the likely Republican and Independent Millennial voters, the CRNC report found that the majority are still undetermined as to who they would vote for in the primary, with 57% of  Millennials saying that their minds are not made up on a candidate.” (Fox Business, 11/16/2015)

EXPERT WEIGHS IN ON CRUZ PLAN TO ADMINISTER PELL GRANTS THROUGH TREASURY: “Texas Senator Ted Cruz unveiled a plan to abolish four (the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development), plus the Internal Revenue Service.” According to New America’s Alexander Holt, “Cruz’s more detailed plan says he would keep the Pell grant program in place and have it administered through the Treasury Department. This would be an expensive switch, since Treasury has no previous knowledge of how to administer aid to schools, but theoretically doable.”

O’MALLEY OBJECTS TO SANDERS’ FREE COLLEGE FOR ALL PLAN: Highlighting the differences between debt-free and free college approach in last week’s second Democratic debate, Governor O’Malley said: “I respectfully disagree with Senator Sanders’ approach. I believe that the goal should be debt-free college. I believe that our Federal Government needs to do more on pell grants. States need to stop cutting higher education, and we should create a new block grant program that keeps the states’ skin in the game, and we should lower these outrageous interest rates that parents and kids are being charged by their own government.”

DEBATE AUDIENCE APPLAUDS WHEN CLINTON USES TRUMP TO PITCH THE NEW COLLEGE COMPACT: “I believe that we should make community college free. We should have debt-free college if you go to a public college or university. You should not have to borrow a dime to pay tuition. I wanna use Pell grants to help defray– the living expenses that often– make a difference whether a young person can stay in school or not. I disagree with free college for everybody. I don’t think taxpayers should be paying to send Donald Trump’s kids to college. It think it ought to be a compact, (APPLAUSE) families contribute, kids contribute, and together, we want to make it possible for our new generation of young people to refinance their debt and not come out with debt in the future.” (CBS News, 11/14/2015)

HERITAGE ON THE DONALD’S STUDENT DEBT MESSAGE: “But in areas where the talking points are less obvious, Mr. Trump veers far off script in ways that suggest he is not a conservative. For example, he has said previously that the federal government should not make money on student loans because so many students face crushing debt. This argument is frequently invoked by progressives such as Elizabeth Warren even though setting rates further below what the free market would bear would only exacerbate higher education inflation. Mr. Trump might do well to shift his focus on higher education to issues like accreditation reform, an area Mr. Trump should be quite familiar with given his experience running a for-profit unaccredited school that faced heavy regulatory scrutiny.” (Heritage Action’s Presidential Platform Review)

HERITAGE EXPRESSES SKEPTICISM OF BUSH ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN: “Governor Bush has also identified higher education cost as a major obstacle to opportunity for young people. He has criticized the Obama Administration’s nationalization of the student loan market and called out universities for funneling federal dollars into wasteful investments at taxpayers’ and students’ expense. Governor Bush is also a proponent of new models of post-secondary education like online learning, non-four-year programs, and employer-designed programs. Notably, though, he has suggested that the federal government leverage its control over the student loan market to force ‘accountability,’ an approach in line with President Obama’s federal college scorecard that could skew the higher education market by allowing government to dictate the metrics that consumers and providers should prioritize.” (Heritage Action’s Presidential Platform Review)

RUBIO’S SUPPORT FOR INCREASING ACCESS TO HIGHER ED OUTCOMES DATA AND AUTO-IBR IS A NON-STARTER FOR HERITAGE: “In its emphasis on government-determined metrics, Senator Rubio’s proposal is more prescriptive than some alternative accreditation reform proposals. This reliance on government-set criteria also carries through to his proposal to increase federal involvement in publicizing data on student outcomes. While consumers today have a multitude of private scorecard options to evaluate college performance, each emphasizing different sorts of priorities, government scoring could crowd out private evaluations by dictating to the market what does and does not constitute good performance. No doubt the higher education lobby would do all it could to lobby government to focus on metrics that play to the strengths of the institutions that benefit from the status quo. Also concerning is Senator Rubio’s support for automatic income-based repayment of student loans, an inflationary loan repayment model that would to some degree undermine the efficiencies achieved through Senator Rubio’s accreditation changes.” (Heritage Action’s Presidential Platform Review)

GET SMART FAST: The conservative American Action Forum outlines the concerns surrounding income share agreements — a concept touted by a number of candidates — here.


Challenges of an Accreditor Crackdown, Inside Higher Ed, Michael Stratford

Little for Students in ‘Historic’ Settlement of Education Management Case, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Goldie Blumenstyk