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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (September 23, 2015): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (September 23, 2015)

411 days to go…

Happy fall, y’all! The season isn’t the only thing that has changed since last week. With candidates dropping out and policy spats aplenty, it’s clear this campaign cycle has entered a new phase. Be sure to share highlights from the past week, and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for updates here.

SANDERS AND CLINTON SPAR OVER HIGHER ED PLANS: “Bernie Sanders pushed back Saturday against an assertion from Hillary Clinton that her education plan is ‘more comprehensive’ than his, another sign of the tightening contest between the two leading Democratic presidential hopefuls. ‘That is absolutely not true,’ Sanders told CNN after speaking at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention here. ‘My plan says that every kid in America … you are going to be able to make it into the middle class, you are going to be able to get a college education, regardless of the income of your family.’ [Speaking at UNH last Friday, Clinton said:] ‘I think my plan is … more comprehensive because I am aiming at getting costs down, not just putting more money in the system so costs keep rising… I have a very heavy emphasis on paying down debt and different ways for students to do exactly that… I think my plan is really aimed at addressing the issues that I hear young Americans talking to me about.’ Sanders, who described his plan as ‘revolutionary,’ would not answer a question Saturday about whether the policy squabbles signal that the race for the Democratic nomination is entering into a new stage.” (CNN, 9/19/2015)

According to the Daily Caller, Clinton said, “in particular the national service component and the young parent component is something that I think is overlooked by too many people and not in part of other people’s plans.”

UNH STUDENT QUESTIONS POLITICAL FEASIBILITY OF SANDERS’S FREE TUITION PLAN: “But the tricky thing about college students: they’re learning how to ask questions. And some in this crowd doubt that Sanders can pull this off. “‘I get so frustrated because it’s easy to stand up and say ‘UNH, everything is going to be free for you in like four years,’ and the answer is that it won’t,’ says Veronica Little, who confesses that she’s a Hillary Clinton fan. ‘To sell that to young students and to hang your hat on that as like your political campaign idea is sort-of misleading.’” (New Hampshire Public Radio, 9/21/2015)

TRUMP SAYS STUDENT DEBT IS A “TREMENDOUS PROBLEM”: “Student debt is a tremendous problem in the United States. We’re going to restructure it. We’re going to make it possible for people to borrow money, go through college, get through it. We’re going to make it so it’s very affordable. Right now it’s not fair. It’s one of the only places frankly where our country actually makes money, and they make a lot of money. We’re going to make it really good for the student.” (Twitter, 9/21/2015)

FOCUS GROUP OF YOUNG REPUBLICANS PANS LACK OF CONVERSATION ABOUT STUDENT DEBT IN SECOND DEBATE: The Millennial-focused television network Fusion sponsored a “focus group of 18- to 34-year-old Republican voters [that] was organized… by the California-based Davis Research and conducted by Fusion’s Alicia Menendez and Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson… Throughout the pair of debates… the GOP candidates failed to address issues these young Republicans felt should have been front and center. After watching both of the CNN Republican debates on Wednesday, participants in the focus group said the candidates had neglected issues like student debt and wages that are important to their generation. After watching both debates, Abbie, a 21-year-old Republican from California told Menendez, ‘There was no talk about schools, student loans—nothing to help the younger generation.’ Several other participants agreed that student debt and the education system was largely absent from the debate.” (Fusion, 9/17/2015)
CLINTON SAYS MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE AND AVAILABLE IS CORE TO ACHIEVING HER CAMPAIGN’S DEFINING PRIORITY–RAISING INCOMES: “One of the single biggest ways we can actually raise people’s incomes is making college affordable and available to everyone. This is not just a nice thing to do, this is an economic strategy, and it’s what has helped generations of Americans. Republicans have taken aim at higher education. We have several candidates on the Republican side who very proudly slashed budgets for their universities. What they have done to try to make it harder — cutting all kinds of programs, scholarships, and others that enabled kids from modest incomes to be able to go to college and get that good degree, that good training.” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2015)

CLINTON THREATENS BAD ACTORS: At UNH, Clinton also said: “if you defraud students, if you overcharge veterans, or you mislead borrowers, we are going to do everything we can to hold you accountable, because you are standing in the way of people’s dreams.” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/21/2015)

THE MAJOR REFORM BUSH WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM DEPT OF ED IS TO LOWER STUDENT DEBT: “Bush said the major reform he’d like to see with the Department of Education relates to lowering student debt in higher education. ‘The federal government ought to be a partner in lowering costs and increasing the number of people that actually graduate,’ Bush said.” (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, 9/22/2015)

IN ROLLOUT OF REGULATORY REFORM PROPOSAL, BUSH EXCLUDES GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT ON LIST OF RULES HE WOULD SCRAP OR REFORM: Yesterday, Governor Bush’s campaign unveiled a list of changes the Governor would, if elected, make to the regulatory process. Specifically, the Bush campaign listed on its website a series of regulations from Dodd-Frank to rules on carbon emissions that the Governor would eliminate or reform. A deeper read of the Governor’s proposal found no explicit mentions of any higher education regulations. (, 9/22/2015)

GRAHAM CONFIRMS EARLIER MILLENNIAL MEMO REPORTS THAT HE WOULD LOWER STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES: Speaking to a group in Ames, Iowa this past weekend: “Graham was also asked questions concerning student loans and the problem with tuition-free colleges. He said his plan to lower the interest rates, increase accessibility toward student funding and open the student loans to private sectors would reduce the burden on students. Graham also rejects the idea of free college tuition for all students because he said it would contribute to the rising national debt. His overall goal is to improve the job market for recent college graduates.” (Iowa State Daily, 9/20/2015)
MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new poll of Iowa caucusgoers from Public Policy Polling finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton leading their contests — the former with 24% and the latter with 43% — as well as garnering the greatest support of the state’s youngest caucusgoers. Here is how the Republicans stacked up among young (18 to 45 year-old) caucusgoers: Trump (27%), Carson (18%), Cruz (11%), Paul (11%), Fiorina (9%), Huckabee/Rubio/Walker (5%), Bush (4%), Jindal (3%), Santorum (2%), Undecided (2%), Christie/Gilmore/Graham/Kasich*. Here is how the Democrats stacked up among (18 to 45 year-old) caucusgoers: Clinton (33%), Sanders (32%), Biden (18%), Not Sure (7%), Webb (6%), Chafee (4%), Lessig/O’Malley*.


One in Four?, Inside Higher Ed, Jake New