December 11, 2017 by
For the first time in nearly a decade, the United States Congress is about to take up legislation to upgrade the Higher Education Act – the federal law that governs how the federal government supports and regulates higher education institutions. Financial aid would be doled out differently under the proposed PROSPER Act. Karin Hildebrand Lau / Shutterstock.com The process began earlier this month, when U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, chairperson of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform, or PROSPER Act. The PROSPER Act is the first comprehensive attempt since 2008 to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which was first passed in 1965. The Senate version of higher education reauthorization is expected in early 2018. Since the largest federal interaction with students is through the Federal Student Aid program, the vast majority of the recommendations within the PROSPER Act are related to changes in the student aid process. Scholars of higher education policy, like ourselves, have documented the role of federal policy in informing both campus operations and the ability for students to have access to, and ultimately succeed in, college. Here are five things that stood out as we reviewed the proposed legislation. #1. Pell Grant award won’t change but may come with a bonus If you receive the Pell Grant, your award will remain the same. If you want more money, you will need to take 15 credits per semester. Currently students receive a prorated amount of the maximum Pell Grant depending on their enrollment level. The PROSPER Act continues the Pell Grant program through 2024 at the current maximum award of US$5,920. The legislation adds a $300 “kicker,” or bonus, to students who enroll in at least 15 credits per semester during the academic year. This in theory should encourage students to take more credits and graduate earlier. However, more credits could mean potentially higher tuition – perhaps more than the additional $300 bonus will cover – and, as a result, potentially more loans for low-income students. Providing an incentive for full-time enrollment is a good thing, in our opinion, but if it increases student debt levels, the negative impacts may outweigh the benefits. #2. Larger loans for undergraduates, but limits for graduates and parents Dependent undergraduate borrowers will see an increase in annual federal loan limits – from $5,500 to $7,500. What is unknown, however, is whether this access to larger loans will encourage schools to increase undergraduate tuition and fees. Graduate students will see their loan limits set at $28,500, as opposed to the current limit, which is the total cost of attendance. For parents, the loan limit would be set at a flat rate of $12,500, as opposed to the current limit, which is the cost of attendance wherever their child attends college. For graduate students and parents, the proposed limits may increase the likelihood of taking out additional loans from a private lender – such as personal banks – to cover unmet need. Since private lenders typically have higher interest rates and less favorable terms, this shift may make it more difficult for student loan borrowers to repay their loans. Also, as more borrowers turn to private lenders, it would force borrowers to repay two separate entities – the federal government through direct loans and a private lending entity. #3. Student aid will feel more like a job PROSPER proposes additional investments in programs designed to increase connections between job-related skills and a college degree. For example, the legislation would increase available funds for undergraduates through the Federal Work Study program by phasing out graduate student eligibility. It also calls for the creation of an Apprenticeship Grants program focused on business-to-institution partnerships and provides access to Pell Grants for students who are pursuing short-term, certificate or vocational programs. The PROSPER Act will also change the way aid is delivered to students. Instead of a single lump sum at the beginning of the semester, students will receive their aid – both grants and loans – in biweekly allotments, sort of like a paycheck. The idea is that biweekly distributions will ensure students have access to enough money to stay enrolled through the entire semester – which research has shown to be an effective strategy. Students, for instance, have reported that this approach “helped them to spend their money wisely, decrease work hours and focus on their studies.” #4. Fewer loan repayment options will be available Unlike the current six options to repay student loans, PROSPER would streamline repayment options to two. The first option would be a standard 10-year repayment. The second would be income-driven repayment, or IBR. Under the proposed reforms, the federal government will receive the same amount of money regardless of which plan is selected. It would be up to the students to select if they want to pay off their loans through the fixed 10-year period or pay 15 percent of their discretionary income for however long it takes to pay off the loan, plus interest. Gone are the days of loan forgiveness and forbearance. #5. Going into public service will have fewer benefits Public service careers will revert to being a more altruistic career choice. That’s because in prior years, students who went into public services jobs, or even specific K-12 teaching jobs, could receive loan forgiveness as part of their service to the public. However, the PROSPER Act proposes to eliminate all public service loan forgiveness programs and priority targeted grant programs. This includes the TEACH Grant programs, which give additional grant aid to undergraduates who get a bachelor’s degree in hard-to-staff teaching areas, such as special education, STEM and foreign language, and who pledge to work in schools that serve students from predominantly low-income families. While the evidence of effectiveness for public service loan forgiveness and targeted grant programs is inconclusive, these programs send powerful signals of national need and priority. It will be interesting to see if the end of public service loan forgiveness programs will change the supply of workers in public service jobs. While the proposed reforms within the PROSPER Act make large-scale changes to the federal student aid program, there are potential benefits for students. The simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, along with access to a mobile FAFSA application, would reduce barriers to applying. Access to the additional work study aid and potentially larger Pell Grants may reduce the financial barriers for low-income student enrollment. Finally, allowing student loan borrowers to access income-based repayment may reduce financial stress. However, by removing key loan forgiveness programs and loan forbearance, this legislation is signaling to students that the cost of higher education will primarily be their responsibility long-term. by Dennis A. Kramer II and Christopher R. Marsicano

December 11, 2017 by
Under the banner of welfare reform, the administration is eyeing changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the welfare executive order as soon as January, according to multiple administration officials. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are hoping to make the most sweeping changes to federal safety net programs in a generation, using legislation and executive actions to target recipients of food stamps, Medicaid and housing benefits. The White House is quietly preparing a sweeping executive order that would mandate a top-to-bottom review of the federal programs on which millions of poor Americans rely. And GOP lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting legislation that could make it more difficult to qualify for those programs. In the meantime, the Trump administration has already begun making policy shifts that could have major ramifications. Federal health officials are encouraging states to impose work requirements on able-bodied adults on Medicaid — a major philosophical shift that would treat the program as welfare, rather than health insurance. The Agriculture Department said last week that it would soon give states greater control over the food stamp program, potentially opening the door to drug testing or stricter work requirements on recipients of the $70 billion program long targeted by fiscal conservatives. Another initial move has already backfired — the Veterans Affairs Department announced it would redirect hundreds of millions of dollars from a program for homeless veterans to local VA centers, but it reversed course after fierce blowback from advocates. While candidate Donald Trump pledged to protect some safety net programs, conservatives have long wanted to devolve control of social programs to the states and impose stricter work and drug testing rules. Now that they control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Republicans believe they have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul those programs, which they have long argued are wasteful, are too easily exploited and promote dependency. “People are taking advantage of the system and then other people aren't receiving what they really need to live, and we think it is very unfair to them,” Trump said in October. The president is expected to sign the welfare executive order as soon as January, according to multiple administration officials, with an eye toward making changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs, not just traditional welfare payments. To be sure, many of the changes are still in the talking stages, and it remains to be seen when and how they are actually implemented and at what political cost. And there remains internal debate in the administration over how to balance other priorities like an infrastructure bill. The White House's leading advocate for a welfare overhaul, Domestic Policy Council Deputy Director Paul Winfree, is slated to leave the administration on Friday, according to a person familiar with the move. But two administration officials said Winfree's departure won't hobble the welfare push, as the White House has already completed much of the groundwork on the issue. Defenders of the safety net programs, meanwhile, fear the effort could rob Americans — including many Trump voters — of a vital lifeline. “It would be a recipe for massively exacerbating poverty and inequality in America in violation of all of Trump’s campaign promises,” said Rebecca Vallas, managing director of the Center for American Progress’ poverty program. “The poor are under attack,” said National Community Reinvestment Coalition President John Taylor, who accused Republicans of “rigging the system” for the top 1 or 2 percent at the expense of the middle class and poor. “Most Americans, if they really understood what was going on, would not support it,” he said. Although the effort to reshape the country's welfare system is all but guaranteed to produce powerful political backlash, it appears to have broad backing from conservative congressional Republicans, who are already coordinating with the White House on a legislative agenda to complement expected executive actions. White House Domestic Policy Council staff, who are working closely with congressional Republicans on legislation, are slated to meet this week with House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee staff. The exact provisions of the pending bill are unknown, but a conservative group closely aligned with lawmakers said Republicans intend to pass broadly focused legislation. “They’re thinking about welfare reform in a large, all-encompassing way, not a program way,” said Jason Turner, executive director of the Secretaries’ Innovation Group, a group of conservative officials who run state-level social programs and met with Ways and Means Committee Republicans on the Hill last week. Turner said he expects Republican leaders will seek to combine their ideas with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s vision in his “A Better Way” plan to create a “mega-idea” for reform with a focus on work. “In terms of scope, that is part of the discussions that we are having with the committees,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said. “We are still running options through the interagency process and consultations with Congress.” Ryan spokesman Doug Andres declined to offer more details, adding that Republicans would discuss the issue at their January retreat. In recent days, Ryan said he hopes to embark on entitlement and welfare reform next year. He has said entitlement reform — an overhaul of programs like Medicare and Medicaid that has been his priority since his days as Budget chairman — is essential for tackling the debt, which is set to surge by $1 trillion under the Republican tax reform bill, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. “We have a welfare system that’s basically trapping people in poverty and effectively paying people not to work, and we’ve got to work on that,” he said in a recent radio interview. Democrats immediately pounced on Ryan’s comments. “Paul Ryan just admitted that after providing $1 trillion in tax breaks to the top 1% and large corporations, Republicans will try to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and help for the most vulnerable Americans,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. It is unclear whether Republicans will take aim at Medicare given Trump’s campaign promise not to touch it. Trump also promised not to cut Medicaid or Social Security, the latter of which is trickier for lawmakers to change because of procedural rules designed to protect the program. If Republicans steer clear of Medicare, they say they will need to cut deeper into programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Despite Trump’s campaign vow on Medicaid, the GOP already placed the health insurance program for the poor on the chopping block earlier this year as part of its failed push to repeal Obamacare, proposing to siphon nearly $800 billion from the program over a decade. With strong Democratic opposition a certainty, GOP leaders will need to rely on a budget tool that allows them to jam bills past their Democratic counterparts. That tactic, known as budget reconciliation, allowed Republicans to pursue their successful push on tax reform this year, as well as an unsuccessful one on health care. But unlocking reconciliation will require Republicans to almost unanimously agree to a budget blueprint — unity that took months of wrangling by GOP leaders this year even on their longtime priority of tax reform. That unity may be even more difficult to achieve in an election year. Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) recently confirmed to a small group of D.C. conservatives that welfare reform would be the focus of the 2019 budget. But the reception wasn’t what he expected. Several people in attendance were shocked, according to one person familiar with the conversation — because they read it as Republicans abandoning their push for Obamacare repeal. “Not that we don't need welfare reform,” the person said. “But if you're looking to get something accomplished through 2018 and through the Senate, even on reconciliation, it’s hard to see how welfare is that policy.” But Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), a longtime Budget Committee member, told POLITICO last week that he’s leaning toward using the reconciliation process for welfare reform. “When we're using reconciliation instructions, we should deal with the hard stuff,” Woodall added. “The easy things, people have done already. What's left is hard, and it's hard when you're dealing with food stamp programs, for example.” On the executive side, the Trump administration is moving ahead on its own even before Republicans work out the details of their legislative push. Food stamp changes One of the biggest programs that could be in the administration’s cross hairs is food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a $70 billion program that helps one in eight Americans buy groceries each month. The Department of Agriculture has said it’s developing a policy that could make it easier for states to impose stricter work requirements or drug testing on recipients — things that states like Wisconsin and Florida have long tried to do, but have been blocked by either courts or USDA. On Tuesday, USDA issued a vague announcement highlighting the principles around encouraging self-sufficiency, pledging to give more flexibility and “local control” to states administering SNAP in the coming weeks. “SNAP was created to provide people with the help they need to feed themselves and their families, but it was not intended to be a permanent lifestyle,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Many states already limit SNAP benefits to three months for able-bodied adults who don’t care for young children or an elderly parent, and who aren’t working or enrolled in a job training or volunteer program. Nearly half of all SNAP recipients are children. Handing over more control to states is loathed by Democrats and anti-hunger advocates who fear that Republicans will eventually try to block-grant SNAP, much like they did with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program during welfare reform in the 1990s — a change that led to a big drop in the rolls but, critics argue, didn’t actually reduce poverty. SNAP serves a vastly larger population than TANF and has been shown to reduce hunger and improve health outcomes. There’s also now renewed concern that more states could try to follow Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s push to impose drug screening on all able-bodied adults who apply for SNAP, which critics argue stigmatizes the program and costs many times more than it will save taxpayers. Medicaid work requirements Work requirements are just one of several new coverage restrictions federal health officials are expected to grant to red states trying to reduce enrollment in a program that now covers one in five Americans. Other proposals include imposing higher costs on enrollees, and strict disenrollment penalties for not following certain rules. But work requirements have generated the most ire from Democrats and advocates for low-income people, who argue that they do nothing to advance Medicaid's core purpose of providing health coverage to the poor. Ten Republican-led states are seeking the Trump administration’s permission to require certain enrollees to work or participate in other job-related activities as a condition of receiving health coverage. The restrictions, which were repeatedly rejected by the Obama administration, are primarily targeted at low-income adults who gained coverage under Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid. Yet other red states that never implemented that expansion — including Kansas, Maine and Mississippi — are also interested. Top health officials have actively encouraged states to enact work rules, saying the proposals are designed to reduce government dependency as Medicaid has grown to cover able-bodied adults rather than primarily serving the disabled, pregnant women and children. "The thought that a program designed for our most vulnerable citizens should be used as a vehicle to serve working-age, able-bodied adults does not make sense," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a November speech to state officials. Housing At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary Ben Carson has made clear his philosophy that welfare fosters dependency and has said government should be focused on the business of getting people out of public housing. HUD will be “significantly involved” in Trump’s welfare reform efforts, Carson told POLITICO. “Our objective is to empower people, to give people opportunity. “Housing and affordable housing is supposed to be something we provide for the elderly, the disabled and for work-able people. It should be a steppingstone toward self-sufficiency,” Carson said. “Obviously, that has not been the case for decades. We need to change that. But to change it, we need to be able to provide opportunities.” On Thursday, he launched his EnVision Center project, a multi-agency effort to create job training and educational opportunity hubs near public-assisted housing with the goal of self-sufficiency. HUD will track people using the center to see how many find long-term jobs, attain education and start a business. By ANDREW RESTUCCIA, SARAH FERRIS and HELENA BOTTEMILLER EVICH

December 3, 2017 by
Photo by Solana Larsen | CC BY 2.0 Long before hurricanes Irma and María utterly devastated Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), the most important public higher education institution on the Archipelago, was weathering a storm of its own: austerity. Puerto Rico is currently drowning under the weight of a $74 billion debt, and $49 billion in pension obligations, the likes of which is a product of a decades-long recession, illegal bond issuances and trades, and an overly-advertised tax haven. The legal framework that made these practices possible was enacted by the US Congress, implementing a rationale of exceptionality, establishing Puerto Rico as an exception to the tax code of the US. This has lead many to argue that PR’s debt is inherently colonial. To try to deal with PR’s financial crisis, the US Congress legislated PROMESA [1], which former President Barack Obama signed into law in 2016, and which, among many things, allowed for the creation and establishment of an oversight board and a process for restructuring debt [2]. And so, an unelected Financial Oversight and Management Board [3], or, as it’s referred to locally, La Junta de Control Fiscal or the Fiscal Control Board, was undemocratically imposed onto Puerto Rico, and an austerity campaign has characterized its reign. The fatal blow of the violence of austerity has spared no public service institution, including the University of Puerto Rico. Draconian budget cuts, campus and academic program eliminations and consolidations, tuition spikes, payroll reductions, worsening adjunct professorship conditions, UPR was being primed for these and other cut-throat measures. Rumors regarding the privatization of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) were/are making their rounds as well, just as the rising popularity of public-private partnerships, and given the “restructuring” and fiscal plans [4] UPR’s administration, the Fiscal Control Board and the central local government were concocting for the University, fear emerged that UPR could be heading in the same direction, However, even though UPR found itself under blatant neoliberal attacks, a considerable portion of its student body and faculty were resisting these measures and fighting back, UPR’s recent student strike  a protagonist of this struggle. But then hurricanes Irma and María hit the Archipelago. And even though their passage was temporary, the aftereffects and the socio-political chaos they set off will be long-lasting, recovery an arduous road. The UPR campuses, all 11 of them, suffered considerable damages and losses. After hurricane María, UPR assessed more than $118 million in losses system-wide [7], UPR-Humacao registered as the campus that suffered the most devastation, having been the closest to the area through which the eye of the hurricane entered Puerto Rico. Between hurricanes Irma and María, all campuses were closed for almost a month to more than five weeks, losing a considerable portion of the semester. But beyond, and because, of these quantifiable and calculable consequences, profounder, more insidious dangers lurk on the horizon. And UPR affiliates and allies have already started pointing them out. “CAREFUL, while perhaps for some this is well-intentioned, initiatives to offer students in hurricane-affected areas in-state tuition in states such as Florida might also embolden further shock-doctrine-style shake ups at UPR. […] I understand the positive intention of these initiatives, but I think it would be naive to think that they couldn’t be used in a disastrous way for UPR[8]. [Note: This was a public Facebook post uploaded on September 29, and there have been many exchanges about this since].” As professor Maritza Stanchich, from UPR-Río Piedras, pointed out above, invoking journalist Naomi Klein, after the passing of both hurricanes, the University of Puerto Rico is at a greater risk than before of falling victim to the perils of disaster capitalism, and of having pro-corporate measures characteristic of the shock-doctrine shoved down its throat. Before UPR had decided to re-open its campuses, a number of universities stateside, such as Tulane University [9]  and Brown University [10], and private universities in Puerto Rico, started hurricane-relief programs, offering students an opportunity to continue their academic semester and studies. Although these initiatives are well-meaning and helpful to a portion of UPR’s student body (often a privileged portion of the student body that can afford the related expenses, that can leave their families, that had internet access to find out about or apply to these programs, etc.), they’re simultaneously creating a problematic situation [11] for UPR as an institution. The University of Puerto Rico had a difficult choice to make after hurricane María, the repercussions of which are yet to be seen: on the one hand, UPR could decide not to continue with the semester because proper recovery and reconstruction would require an extensive amount of time, but watch as a portion of its student body was snatched away by universities stateside and private universities and colleges on the island itself. On the other hand, UPR could decide to reopen (which it did)[12], but watch a portion of its student body leave anyways, due to the fact that the University hasn’t been fully and properly rehabilitated to serve its student body, faculty and staff (there are fungus infestations; power outages and non-potable water service; closed libraries and research centers; damaged classrooms, offices and public spaces; etc.), and that the reality of Puerto Rico is not compatible with the “normality” the University is trying to craft and establish; either of the decisions having serious repercussions. And it is clear that the University was pinned between this rock and a hard place, not by the hurricanes (the hurricanes just exacerbated the situation at hand), but by years of corrupt and inept government administrations and a colonial debt that PR has been amassing for the past decades, followed by the imposition of the Fiscal Control Board, and the resulting measures coated in austerity, privatization and plunder. A student from UPR-Río Piedras, Verónica del Carmen, comments on this complication, and the possible resulting privatization, as well: “I’m not registered at the university this semester, so I don’t have to go back on Monday. But I read you, I hear you, and I feel anxious, sad, nervous… But mostly, I feel pissed, because if I were registered I’d have to choose between working or studying. Between eating or taking the bus. I would probably be planning with friends which would be the shelter with water and the best space for us to go rest and “study”. I think of the possibilities and get even more pissed. Both the government and the university’s administration have more than enough excuses to continue the privatization of UPR and the access to education. Hurricane María’s passing paved the way for them to finish implementing their plans. Closing campuses, increasing the cost of tuition, cutting grants and financial aid, letting buildings and student residencies fall into ruin, in other words, for UPR to only be for those who can afford it.[13]” It’s an important and concerning situation to consider and address: how many students will be able to keep up with the pace UPR has established to try and finish the semester in time; how many students will be able to handle the “normality” the University is trying to impose within its walls, while outside, beyond UPR grounds, a colonial-humanitarian crisis is unfolding? In recent news, UPR’s Governing Board emitted a radical decision that UPR-Mayagüez’s rector was quick to implement. Rector Wilma Santiago instructed that all deans should begin to elaborate plans which contemplate the substantial reduction of the number of required credits for all academic programs, and present curricular alternatives so as to offer two-year programs of study, hence, associate degrees. “They’re taking advantage of the tragic moment the country is going through to neutralize any possible opposition to their anti-academic measures that intend to convert UPR into a training center for technical jobs,” Jorge Schmidt, professor at UPR-Mayagüez, remarks regarding the decision of UPR’s Governing Board, a resolution that would transform UPR’s role as a leading academic and research center; that implies the reduction of faculty and spending on teaching/research-based resources; that privileges profit over academic excellence; a clear tell-tale of privatization. To make matters worse, primary and secondary public education in Puerto Rico are under threat of privatization as well [15], Julia Keleher, the Secretary of Education of Puerto Rico, and her team using the hurricanes as an excuse to execute this transition, looking to New Orleans post-Katrina as a model. UPR is the the most important public higher education institution in PR; 46.1% [16] of the population on the Archipelago lives below the poverty line (and it’s likely to increase post-hurricane María, the rate potentially rising to 59.8%, according to a study conducted by The Census Information Center (CIC) of UPR-Cayey ), and economic accessibility is already a problem for too many studying at or wanting to attend UPR. If UPR succumbs to the underlying threats of privatization, an accessible education will no longer be a possibility for a considerable sector of the population, especially for underserved communities of disadvantaged socio-economic sectors. Many would also be forced to take on student loans, incurring on student debt and sparking a debt-crisis like the one ailing the United States and many other countries. Public education as we know it would cease to exist, and only those affluent enough to afford the commodity education would become would have access to higher education. Local and international media coverage have been focusing on the privatization and questionable dealings regarding Puerto Rico’s Power Authority (PREPA), but the spotlight should be shared; the University of Puerto Rico’s pressing vulnerable state must gain visibility. As time goes by in this post-Irma and María era in Puerto Rico, it’ll be important to remember that UPR’s bureaucratic and administrative forces, the local central government and the Fiscal Control Board will gather around a table, potable water in cool pitchers, the air conditioner with a low energy efficiency ratio at full blast because they’ve had their power restored, and fiddle around with the future of the University of Puerto Rico. Notes. [1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4900 [2]https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/business/dealbook/puerto-rico-fights-for-chapter-9-bankruptcy-in-supreme-court.html [3] https://juntasupervision.pr.gov/index.php/en/home/ [4]https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/lajuntadegobiernoapruebaelplanfiscaldelaupr-2345228/ [5] http://dialogoupr.com/comunidad-universitaria-reacciona-la-aprobacion-del-plan-fiscal/#more-2312 [6] http://caribbeanbusiness.com/upr-students-vote-to-end-two-month-strike/ [7]https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/elhuracanmariamuestralovulnerabledelaupr-2371734/ [8]https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmaritza.stanchich%2Fposts%2F10155777494584549&width=500%22 [9] http://fortune.com/2017/10/14/tulane-free-tuition-puerto-rico/ [10] https://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/10/puerto-rico [11] http://dialogoupr.com/contraste-de-alegria-y-preocupacion-en-reinicio-de-clases-de-rio-piedras/ [12] Another reason for UPR’s reopening involved issues with Pell Grants. [13] Note: For the purposes of this piece, this Facebook post was translated from Spanish to English. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVeronicaFigueroaHuertas512%2Fposts%2F10155756940155890&width=500 [14] Note: For the purposes of this piece, this quote was translated from Spanish to English. http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/gobierno-politica/nota/denuncianmonumentalcambioenlaupr-1254987/ [15]https://theintercept.com/2017/11/08/puerto-rico-schools-system-with-post-katrina-new-orleans-as-the-model/ [16] https://datausa.io/profile/geo/puerto-rico/ https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4900 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/business/dealbook/puerto-rico-fights-for-chapter-9-bankruptcy-in-supreme-court.html https://juntasupervision.pr.gov/index.php/en/home/ https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/lajuntadegobiernoapruebaelplanfiscaldelaupr-2345228/ https://www.metro.pr/pr/noticias/2017/08/01/appu-rechaza-plan-fiscal-aprobado-la-junta-gobierno-la-upr.html http://dialogoupr.com/comunidad-universitaria-reacciona-la-aprobacion-del-plan-fiscal/#more-2312 http://caribbeanbusiness.com/upr-students-vote-to-end-two-month-strike/ https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/locales/nota/elhuracanmariamuestralovulnerabledelaupr-2371734/ http://fortune.com/2017/10/14/tulane-free-tuition-puerto-rico/ http://fortune.com/2017/10/14/tulane-free-tuition-puerto-rico/ https://news.brown.edu/articles/2017/10/puerto-rico http://dialogoupr.com/contraste-de-alegria-y-preocupacion-en-reinicio-de-clases-de-rio-piedras/ http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/gobierno-politica/nota/denuncianmonumentalcambioenlaupr-1254987/ https://theintercept.com/2017/11/08/puerto-rico-schools-system-with-post-katrina-new-orleans-as-the-model/ https://datausa.io/profile/geo/puerto-rico/ by:Ana Portnoy