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Higher Ed Democrats

Public Administration grad student Austin Ostro holds up images of 24 Democrats vying to become the next president of the Unites States. (Photos by Patrick Dodson) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 18, 2019) — When the student content editor for a publication that assesses university excellence around the world contacted UAlbany for a political science student who could write a guide to the 2020 Presidential candidates, Dean and Professor R. Karl Rethemeyer of Rockefeller College had a ready choice in mind.

2018 UAlbany alum and current Public Administration grad student Austin Ostro knows all about the responsibilities and goals of public office, being the current SUNY Student Assembly president as well as a SUNY trustee.

Ostro readily accepted the assignment and a tight, one-week deadline from Times Higher Education (THE), which since 2010 has published the “World University Rankings.” The result in THE's May 29 issue was a thoroughly journalistic piece. “2020 US election: What have Democratic candidates said about higher education?” is both fact filled and objective in presenting each of the current top-11 Democrat candidates’ key points on the issue and how they would impact students.

Ostro placed a special emphasis on the issue of college affordability.

“College affordability has already drawn more attention this presidential cycle than ever before,” said Ostro, a New York City native. “As students across the nation analyze the most crowded Democratic presidential field in history, it is important for them to know where the candidates stand on a key area of policy of such particular interest to them. I hope the article gives students an objective tool to help them make sense of the field.”

Ostro thanked Rockefeller College and Times Higher Education “for giving me the opportunity and a platform to delve into the candidates and where they stand.” The college was happy as well to see one of its students in the limelight involving both the presidential election and high educational funding.

“We’re really proud of Austin’s deep engagement with the upcoming election and the thinking that went into this article,” said Rethemeyer. “It is important that our students serve as public intellectuals who are deeply versed in the theory and empirics of politics and policy and ready to apply that knowledge to immediate issues and campaigns.”

Ostro’s immediate goals are to complete his graduate program and serve out his terms as SUNY Student Assembly president and SUNY trustee. Long-term, he wants to work in politics and policy, including, he said, “on issues relating to higher education and the experience of students.”

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