Have you always wanted to go to college but just couldn’t afford it? How about working two jobs just to make it through? Well, if you live in Oregon things are in the processof changing. That’s right, Oregon is the first among all the states to pass legislation granting free tuition for higher education in all seven of the state universities.
How will they do it?
Oregon plans to implement a ‘pay it forward’ plan by 2015 allowing graduating students to contribute three cents per pay check for the 24 years that follow graduation to help students going through school during that time. The only challenge will be the nine billion dollar cost of the program in the four years before these initial students graduate. It seems that this new ‘out of the box’ thinking has everyone on board, however, so they are determined that things will work. How refreshing! Would that we could have this sort of positive attitude about so many other possible programs?!
So many students end up with huge student loan debt for years after completing college which stay with them for all too many years. For some individuals this is their only debt and yet it keeps them from opportunities that free education with no debt would have opened to them, such as better housing conditions, travel, starting a family and other creative options including starting a business or engaging in artistic ventures.
This bill passed unanimously on Monday and is expected to be signed into law by Governor John Kitzaber within the month.
We need to fundamentally alter how we think about education. This is the first step to doing it. We need to start down the path because what we’re doing right now is absolutely crazy, and it’s not only bad for graduates and students, but it’s bad for the economy. The advantage is, all (payments are) going to the cost of the program. What we were really trying to get at is eliminate the role that banks are playing in charging interest and fees to students.
Would you go back to school if you could do it at no charge? What would you study? Will more people move to Oregon in hopes of receiving free education? Can Oregon accommodate such changes? These are the types of questions being raised by such a bold move on Oregon’s part. Like it is in so many other areas, Oregon hopes to be a pioneer for change, encouraging other states to follow suit, changing the way higher education is accessed across the country.
As legislation in Oregon passes, granting the first free tuition for higher education in the country, those who have gone to school and accumulated debt and are still paying it off are probably wondering if this new law can be retroactive. It hardly seems fair to folks whose debt seems never ending. I suppose it’s all in the name of progress and the future of education. Just consider the funds that have been paid as the gift to those now moving into ‘the new way’ making it all possible for the next generation of education.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: Addicting Info