Bill Aims To Eliminate Upfront College Costs
Career College Central summary:
Washington students could be among the first to go to college without having to worry about paying tuition up front. A bill in the Legislature proposes they pay after leaving school in the form of a small, fixed percentage of their future income for up to 25 years. Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, who introduced the Pay It Forward program in House Bill 2720, said that with tuition costs and loan debt skyrocketing over the past decade, students from low- and middle-income families find it more difficult to access higher education. The Pay It Forward program would remove that barrier, he said.
Similar legislation has been introduced in 17 states with proposals in the works in several others, according to the Economic Opportunity Institute President John Burbank, a Seattle nonpartisan public-policy center. Oregon legislators passed a bill in 2013 that directed a higher-education commission to determine whether a pilot program is warranted and, if so, to submit a proposal to the 2015 Legislature. Additionally, two similar bills have been introduced at the federal level, Burbank said.
But some in higher education are skeptical. Chris Mulick, director of state relations for Washington State University, said that while he agrees college affordability is a major issue, he doesn’t want another program added into the mix when those that now exist are lacking resources. Instead of the state investing the estimated startup cost of $1.5 million in Pay It Forward, Mulick said he would rather see the need-based grant program fully funded, noting that 32,000 students were left without grants last year.
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THE SEATTLE TIMES