Return to the Latest

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 4, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (November 4, 2015)

369 days to go…

Happy post-Election Day, Memo readers! I don’t know about you, but I always have that day after Christmas feeling after election night. With the dust still settling after last week’s CNBC debate, it’s been a fairly quiet week on the campaign trail. Check out this week’s highlights below. Share this week’s memo with your colleagues and friends and sign up for updates here.

EARTH TO THE CLINTON CAMP: “A new Fusion poll reveals a big gender gap in the crushing burden of student loans. Women ages 18 to 35 are almost twice as likely as men to have felt stress about a student loan, the poll finds. They’re also more likely to borrow to pay for higher education in the first place… In the poll, many of those who borrowed to finance their education say they’ve had to change their plans in life because of the debt—taking jobs they didn’t want, putting off home and car purchases, and even delaying getting married or having kids.” (Fusion, 11/3/2016)

LEADER OF “TEENS FOR TED” SAYS HE IS LEAVING POST BECAUSE CRUZ HASN’T DONE ENOUGH TO ADDRESS ISSUES LIKE STUDENT DEBT: “C.J. Pearson, a 13-year-old conservative social media star who has led Ted Cruz’s effort to mobilize youth support, said Monday he has left the campaign, disappointed with Cruz’s efforts on behalf of youth. Cruz named Pearson national chairman of Teens for Ted on Sept. 8. Pearson, an 8th grader from Grovetown, Ga., said via Twitter that he gave up the post because Cruz ‘wasn’t doing enough to address the issues important to young people like student loan debt and youth unemployment,’ though he still loves Cruz and believes he’s a ‘once in a lifetime candidate.’” (The Dallas Morning News, 11/2/2015)

FRESHMAN SENATORS ENDORSE RUBIO, CALL HIM NEXT GENERATION CANDIDATE: “Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday. ‘Marco represents the next generation of conservative leadership and is a leader who will inspire and unite our country,’ Daines said. The Montana Republican is the second senator to endorse Rubio’s presidential bid. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), a freshman senator like Rubio and Daines, announced on Monday that he was backing the candidate, calling him a ‘generational choice for all Americans’ and ‘our best opportunity to defeat Hillary Clinton.’” (The Huffington Post, 11/3/2015)

WHAT NEW HAMPSHIRE IS READING: “Yes, even as higher education is becoming more important to achieving career success in America, the cost of attaining it is spiraling. It’s a topic we’ve referenced many times and one that demands sustained attention. That’s why we were puzzled when Congress allowed a key program for the neediest college students to lapse at the beginning of this month. You may recall that as the new federal fiscal year loomed, Congress punted on resolving its budget issues, agreeing to a continuing resolution that would keep the government operating through Dec. 11. That’s what led to this week’s budget deal. But several key programs up for reauthorization were allowed to expire during that late-September budget chaos. Among them was the Perkins Loan program. The oldest federal loan program for students, Perkins gives students a boost of a few thousand dollars, based solely on financial need. It can serve as the difference maker in allowing a prospective student to make the leap into higher education. It works with colleges and charges a flat interest rate of 5 percent, which starts accruing after a student leaves college.” (The Keene Sentinel, October 30, 2015)

BUT THE SENTINEL ISN’T ALONE, A MAJORITY OF SENATORS WOULD LIKE TO SEE PERKINS RENEWED: “Fifty-four senators — 11 of them Republicans — have written Senate leaders to ask the chamber to take up the House-passed extension of the Perkins loan program, which expired October 1. Because Congress let the program expire, ‘thousands of current and future students face uncertainty and hundreds of institutions are struggling to find another way to help their neediest students afford their education,’ the letter says.” (Politico, 10/29/2015)

RUBIO CALLS FOR DESTIGMATIZING VOCATIONAL TRAINING: “On education, he said there has been an unfair stigma on vocational training when it should be promoted. ‘A welder makes more money than a philosopher,’ he said. ‘Vocational training should be emphasized in high school as preparation for good-paying jobs.’ He said the problem with education at four-year colleges and universities is the high cost and that students are borrowing money to pay for educations that aren’t leading to good-paying jobs. Rubio suggests giving college credit to people for knowledge they’ve already obtained. He said men and women in the military have received training for which they should receive some college credits.” (Mason City Globe Gazette, 10/31/2015)

PAUL CALLS FOR EXPANDING ACCESS TO ONLINE HIGHER EDUCATION: “Aside from a mention to reporters that he would like to make online classes more accessible, Paul did not address issues of the expense of higher education or burgeoning student debt.” (The Boston Globe, 11/2/2015)
BOOKMARK IT: Where the candidates stand on scrapping the Department of Education. (Ed Week, 11/3/2015)

HIGHER EDUCATION IS A MAJOR ISSUE IN LOUISIANA GUBERNATORIAL RUNOFF: “Both U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, have promised to stabilize funding for higher education as governor, but only one has explicitly committed to boosting state funding for Louisiana’s public colleges and universities if elected. Edwards has said he wants to return Louisiana to a 50/50 funding split between state support and tuition and fees paid by students by the end of his first four-year term. Vitter has declined to  commit to any funding breakdown, 50/50 or otherwise. The Vitter campaign has only said the Senator would find a “realistic and attainable” state funding match for higher education once the overall state fiscal situation is stabilized. Most of the funding to attend a public college or university in Louisiana used to be covered through a general state allocation. But now, after several hundred millions of dollars in cuts made by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature, most of the money for higher education comes through tuition and fees. Jindal and lawmakers have raised the cost of attending a college or university significantly over the past eight years in order to cover some of the state funding cuts. Out of 16 Southern states, Louisiana allocated the lowest amount of state general funding per full time student during 2013-2014 school year.” (The Times-Picayune, 11/3/2015)

THE KOCHS ON CAMPUS: “Hundreds of private documents, emails and audio recordings that, along with interviews with more than 75 college officials, professors, students and others, indicate the Koch brothers’ spending on higher education is now a critical part of their broader campaign to infuse politics and government with free-market principles… Documents show the foundation wanted more than just academic excellence for its money. It wanted information about students it could potentially use for its own benefit — and influence over information officials at the public university disseminated about the Charles Koch Foundation. It sought, for one, the names and email addresses — ‘preferably not ending in .edu’ — of any student who participated in a Koch-sponsored class, reading group, club or fellowship.” (Al Jazeera America, 10/30/2015)


How Many College Students Are Going Hungry?, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Steve Kolowich