Education platforms of the major presidential candidates

Compiled by the Legislative Issues committee


This information is not the opinion of MACRAO or the Legislative Issues committee. These are prioritized in terms of higher education, with information collected directly from candidate websites, and no other sources. As members of MACRAO our goal is to provide unbiased information that will encourage the reader to conduct further research on political candidates and develop their own opinions and support. In no way is this information meant to persuade members to one particular party/candidate platform. Although there are minor differences between the format of information for the candidate and incumbent, it is in relation to their own individual and party priorities, as well as the nature of their current role within the government. 

Donald Trump: 2020 Presidential Education Platform

Link to the platform online:

  • The Trump Administration implemented the year-round distribution of Pell grants, instead of limiting these grants to the spring and fall semesters.
  • Low-income students will now have access to these funds over summer and winter breaks, so they can earn their degrees faster with fewer loans.
  • The Trump Administration reformed the student loan servicing process to improve customer experience and lower costs.
  • The Trump Administration has reformed The Free Application for Federal Student Aid to make the program more accessible to students.

Joe Biden: 2020 Presidential Education Platform

Link to the platform online:

  • Invest in community colleges and training to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.
  • Biden is an advocate for free community college including for DREAMers, adult learners and part time students
  • Under Biden’s plan, individuals making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate federal student loans, those over $25,000 will pay 5% of their discretionary income toward their loans.
  • Plans to target additional financial support to low-income and middle-class individuals by doubling the maximum value of Pell grants, significantly increasing the number of middle-class Americans who can participate in the program
  • Investing in HBCUs, TCUs, and under-resourced MSIs to make these institutions more affordable for their students is another priority for Biden.
  • Creating seamless pathways between high school, job training, community college, and four-year programs to help students get their degrees and credentials faster by investing $50 billion in high-quality training programs.
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A successful virtual Summer Summit 2020!

Congratulations to members of the College Articulation Committee and the Registrars' Practices Committee for a successful virtual Summer Summit!

The sessions were well-attended and we received many positive comments about the accessibility of the sessions in the online format. Plus many of the sessions were recorded and are available on the Summer Summit 2020 page so if you missed them the first time around, you can still "attend" the recorded sessions now.

The Summer Summit also served as a pilot for what the Annual Conference may look like this fall. Since attendance will likely still be restricted due to social distancing requirements and limited travel and professional development budgets at many MACRAO member institutions, the Conference Planning Committee is looking at doing something similar to Summer Summit in November. More details to follow!

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New Professionals Workshop

Planning for the MACRAO New Professionals Workshop is continuing. Like the recent Summer Summit, the Workshop will be virtual, with a combination of pre-recorded seminars that should be available in late August or early September, followed by a live virtual roundtable later in September.

More details to come!

College Fairs: Precautions due to coronavirus

The College Day/Night Committee of MACRAO, along with the Board of Directors, have been monitoring the situation with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state of Michigan. With numerous college fairs coming in the coming weeks, we recommend admissions professionals who are scheduled to attend these fairs take the following precautions:
  • Check with the host institution to make sure they are still going to hold their event. It is up to the host to determine the status of their event, not MACRAO. It’s a good practice to double-check arrangements under the best of conditions, so this is general advice as well.
  • If your institution has restricted travel due to coronavirus concerns and a college fair you were planning to attend is still taking place, let the hosts know you won’t be able to attend as a courtesy. (Again, good general etiquette.)
  • Follow guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Health, your local health department, and your institution, including washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, and practicing “social distancing.” Details are available at
Lake Orion High School’s fair has already been cancelled. You can check the College Day/Night Fair calendar on for other updates as we receive them.

The safety of MACRAO members and the students we serve is our primary concern. Please take care of yourselves!

If these recommendations need to be updated as conditions change, we will re-post to the MACRAO listserv and at

Dena Russell, Chair, MACRAO College Day/Night Committee
Colleen Kibin, President, MACRAO

Get involved! Join a MACRAO committee!

MACRAO's standing committees are where the real energy and innovation happens. Our committees work on professional development opportunities, discuss and develop best practices and other solutions, and create networking opportunities and friendships that provide support when we need it most!

Who is eligible to be on a MACRAO committee? Any current member... institutional, affiliate, individual, or honorary. If your institution is a MACRAO member and you work in the areas of registration, records, admissions, recruitment, or related fields, you're eligible! (If you're not already listed as an institutional member, ask your school's key contact to request that you get added to the membership list.)

Request to join a committee by filling out the online committee membership form. The President-Elect reviews all applications and appoints volunteers to committees, pending final approval by the Board of Directors.

Take the next step in your professional career... join a MACRAO committee today!

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2019 MACRAO award winners announced

2019 Equity in Education Award

The Board of Directors presents this award to a program that promotes equitable opportunities within higher education for marginalized populations.

Winner: Eastern Michigan University Gateways to Completion

Description: The Gateways to Completion program at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) promotes equitable opportunities for underrepresented students in the classroom. EMU made the decision to participate in G2C program in the 2016-2017 academic term for the following reasons:

  1. The impact G2C would have on freshman retention rates (gateway courses);
  2. Educational partnership would discover any equity issues/problems and provide data on the achievement gaps, and
  3. The Gateways to Completion program is a classroom-based retention program.

The G2C program at Eastern Michigan University is led by Dr. Michael Tew, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Programming and Services, Division of Academic and Student Affairs and includes participation from faculty, administrators and students. Three gateway courses were selected for the G2C at EMU program: Biology 110, Chemistry 121 and Math 105.

The outcomes of the program assessment suggest G2C at EMU is an excellent model for improving higher education aimed at marginalized populations. The dis-aggregated data collected from the gateway courses for marginalized population at EMU illustrates an interesting story of student success in the classroom. The data analysis demonstrates that: the course redesign can create academic growth in the classroom; the development of new teaching approaches can enhance student learning and produce better grade output; and course redesign declines the opportunity for repeat of courses, thus impacting the graduation completion rate for marginalized populations.

2019 Innovation in Transfer Award

The College Articulation Committee uses this award to recognize innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies and activities that ultimately improve the ability of an institution to serve transfer students and to recognize the faculty, staff and administrators who have created and implemented them.

Winner: Northwestern Michigan College Engineering 2+2 agreement with Michigan Technological University.

Description: The Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) Engineering faculty including Jerry Dobek and Jay Smith, as well as advisor Deb Maison, have worked diligently to create a 2+2 transfer agreement with Michigan Tech University for Engineering majors at NMC. This agreement has included development of a number of new courses, extensive collaboration between our community college and the university, as well as hours of work to realign major coursework at NMC. The result of this work will allow students to transfer from NMC to Michigan Tech as college juniors ‐‐ a true 2+2 agreement. More details are available on the program's website:

2019 Outstanding Professional Team Award

The Professional Development Committee uses this award to recognize a team or department within the Admissions, Records or Registration areas. MACRAO seeks to acknowledge their accomplishments, not only in day-to-day activities, but including the times they have gone above and beyond what is expected of them and how they have made a change at their institution.

Winner: Grand Valley State University

Description: When GVSU started using Banner, they realized that the opportunity to use a professional name or alternative name did not exist in Banner. They asked Ellucian to create an enhancement that would allow this functionality, which didn't fully meet the needs of GVSU and wasn't offered on a timeline that suited their needs. It was then that a cross-disciplinary team began working to create their own process to handle alternative names across a wide variety of platforms. Building off of what Ellucian was able to provide, this team created a solution that allows students and employees to provide an alternative first and last name, which is called myName, to be used within Banner and many other applications on campus that interface with Banner data. As a result, over 640 students and employees have utilized the myName option to date. This provides the opportunity to utilize the myName on campus, without making a legal name change, to provide an inclusive workplace and campus environment.

Members of the myName project team have presented their work at a variety of conferences including Ellucian Live in New Orleans, LA (2019), BUGMi - Banner Users Group of Michigan in Michigan (2018), and CoHEsion Higher Education Consortium in San Antonio, TX (2018). More details are available at

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