Friday, July 5, 2013

‘Pay It Forward’ at Oregon universities

Banner, "Free Education to All," hanging out window of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York
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Oregon will become the first state to offer a “Pay It Forward” program for education at its seven state universities.

As explained by Chris Lazare at, “Students will be able to initially attend state universities free of cost. Upon graduating students will pay 3 percent of their paycheck for 24 years in order to help fund the program for future students.”

House Bill 3472 passed unanimously in the Oregon Senate on Monday, having cleared the Oregon House of Representatives earlier this year.

Lazare noted that, “ironically,” Monday was also the day that interest on federal subsidized Stafford Loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Oregon governor John Kitzhaber is expected to sign HR 3472 into law this month.
“The legislation directs the state’s Higher Education Coordination Commission to develop a Pay it Forward pilot project set to launch by 2015. The bill also requires the commission to analyze whether the state can promise students that their tuition won’t increase during their four-year tenure in a state college. The biggest obstacle revolves around funding the initial program which will amount to 9 billion dollars. Since the first year of students won’t graduate for several years, the committee must find a way to help fund the program. However, since it appears everyone is on board with the plan, concessions are expected to be made in order to achieve the planned goal.”
This innovation is long overdue and I hope other states follow suit.

California State Universities have priced education out of reach and society will have to reap the greater cost of failing to educate its workforce.

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