START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
1,366,151 people care about Politics

If You Pay It Forward, You Could Go to College Tuition-Free

If You Pay It Forward, You Could Go to College Tuition-Free

A quality education is the great equalizer. It opens doors to those who would normally not have access. It provides opportunities to contribute to society in ways that may have not been possible.

Increasingly, though, access to the great equalizer is becoming cost prohibitive.

Public universities and colleges are often seen as an investment in a state’s future. Graduates pay back the state through innovation and attracting businesses that are seeking high quality employees. Yet, they have been struggling due to state budget cuts. Now they are forced to make up the shortfall, which is resulting in higher tuition – at rates previously only seen at private institutions.

For many, it’s a choice between either being saddled with debt or forgoing an education.

In 2011, a group of students at University of California Riverside became frustrated at the rising tuition costs due to state budget cuts. After months of research, they presented the Fix UC program in January 2012. In short, students attend the University of California with no upfront costs and, in exchange, they would pay 5% of their income for 20 years.

The plan included income minimums and caps, as well as additional provisions for transfer students, out of state students and people who didn’t graduate. There would also be extensive employment networking and alumni support to make sure they were able to use their education. They wouldn’t be attending for free, per se, as they would be contractually obligated to agree to the future income deductions.

More accurately, they would be paying it forward for future generations.

In October 2012, the Economic Opportunity Institute, a public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, issued a report called Pay It Forward: Refinancing Higher Education to Restore the American Dream. It recommended creating a similar program in Washington, using Australia as a model, in which students attended for free in exchange for future income deductions. The rate, amount and time of repayment would be dependent on factors such as degree and income.

In the end, both plans were deemed unworkable and didn’t move forward.

But the seed had been planted.

In Oregon, Barbara Dudley, professor at the school of public and urban affairs at Portland State University, spoke with John R. Burbank, the executive director at the aforementioned Economic Opportunity Institute. As a result, the students in Professor Dudley’s class worked with Mr. Burbank to develop a no-tuition plan for Oregon. When it was completed, they presented it to the state legislature.

And they listened.

This month, the Oregon legislature approved a pay it forward plan for their state. It passed unanimously, and is expected to be signed by the governor. The plan recommends a 3 percent income deduction for 25 years, in exchange for attending their public universities with no upfront costs. The hope is that a pilot program will be in place as early as 2015.

Just two weeks later, state representatives in Ohio introduced a similar plan for Ohio’s 13 public universities and colleges, recommending a 3 percent future income deduction for 24 years. And while the UC Riverside students have met a temporary setback with their plan going forward, they are not discouraged. They are working on a plan for California State University.

These plans face logistical hurdles, including how to fund the initial investment of students entering. Nevertheless, they achieve a major goal of public higher education: keeping it accessible for everyone.

In a time of staggering student debt, these kinds of programs put our nation on a more sustainable path for higher education. Students and their families would be less burdened trying to pay for college. Furthermore, it inspires community by allowing those that benefited from a tuition free education to give back a little each year so that others can avail themselves of the same opportunity.

They are paying it forward…interest free.

Read more: , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

70 comments

+ add your own
5:11PM PST on Feb 14, 2014

Thank you for sharing

12:47AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

thanks for publishing it.

3:50AM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

thanks for sharing

6:07PM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Heard a lot of pros and cons to this system. But I think it's what we need. Anybody willing to invest time in college is somebody hoping to do something with that education. It's about time we let them.

9:52PM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

Thanks.

1:16PM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

thanks for sharing!

6:54AM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

Equality?

6:01AM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

Before Reagan California had free college and one of the best systems in the world. There's absolutely no reason why college shouldn't be free to everyone who can qualify as it is in all the other countries which are quickly surpassing us.

4:38AM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

Noted

4:30AM PDT on Jul 29, 2013

thanks for sharing

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.