Mark Huelsman

Mark Huelsman is a Senior Policy Analyst at Demos.

Recent Articles

Betsy DeVos Is More Out of Touch on Student Debt Than You Even Thought

The Department of Education moves to limit state consumer protections against student loan servicers and for-profit colleges

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Last week, Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education did something uncharacteristic. In an extraordinary announcement, the Department argued that states do not have authority to oversee student loan companies operating in their states and that regulation should be left to the federal government. The irony of an administration that often touts small government and states rights trying to crack down on state consumer protection was not lost on many consumer advocates . They were quick to see this for what it is: an attempt by a federal department to take pressure off student loan servicers exerted by state attorneys general who have been trying to make sure borrowers and students have basic consumer protections and legal avenues of recourse when loan companies steer them into the wrong products or simply fall down on the job. This move is but the latest in a series of actions by DeVos and the Education Department that side with student loan servicers and for-profit colleges...

Why the Feds Can't Seem to Rein in For-Profit Colleges -- Or Stop Giving Them Money

For-profit colleges have mastered predatory lending while still relying heavily on federal dollars. 

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
This article was originally published by Demos . Last week, after some dogged journalistic legwork by Inside Higher Ed ’s Michael Stratford, the Department of Education released a list of 560 colleges that have been placed under a level of extra scrutiny—known as “Heightened Cash Monitoring”—due to concerns about a college’s finances or administrative capacity, or as the result of an audit, or simply because a college didn’t comply with various federal reporting requirements. Under this extra scrutiny, colleges basically have to account for the federal dollars they receive, and can even have their reimbursements from the federal government delayed while regulators ensure they are being responsible with the public dime. Around half of the colleges under scrutiny are in the for-profit sector (despite the fact that for-profits enroll around 1 in 10 college students). According to the list, there are currently 69 colleges subject to the highest...

Congress Didn't Pay a Lot to Go to College: Today's Students Shouldn't Either

Building photo: Architect of the Capitol - Dome: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress
This article originally appeared on the website of Demos . One of the oldest attack lines in politics is that a candidate or elected official is “out of touch” with the American people. The phrase, deployed often and by both parties, is often used to outline how a statement, voting record, or ideology is on the minority side of public opinion. In other cases, it’s used to target legislators who have served several terms, inferring that their tenure in office has left them too cozy and unresponsive to the needs of constituents. In the case of both Mitt Romney and John Kerry , it was used to infer that the very life experiences of a candidate left them out of touch with those of the “everyday American.” It’s designed to remove any and all appearances of empathy from the equation. In some cases, it’s actually true. Look no further than the cost of higher education. This week, the Senate was expected to (but looks like it no longer will) vote on a...

College Sticker Price Still Matters. Here's Why.

Sure, there are "coupons" like scholarships and grants, but sticker price still has a big impact on both the federal government and students.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
This article originally appeared at Demos' Policy Shop. Over on The Upshot at the New York Times, David Leonhardt throws a little cold (or maybe just “slightly cool”) water on the hysteria over rising tuition, noting (correctly) that the primary tuition inflation measure that the federal government used for years was based on the average sticker price of tuition, rather than the average price that students end up forking over to attend (which would include grants, scholarships, and the like). No one disputes that net prices are rising, and contrary to what Leonhardt infers, the federal government has been releasing net price figures for decades, but he’s right that the overall tuition inflation number is the one that gets cited by his media colleagues most often. The result — as in many things — has been a less-than-accurate read over how much the overall cost of college has been increasing for families. Leonhardt likens the overall college business model...