The Oregon Senate voted unanimously on Monday to pass HB 3472, a house study bill that’s looking to help students pay for college, while at the same time helping Oregon fix its education budget.
The “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back” bill completely redefines the way higher education is funded. It allows students to attend any Oregon public university without paying a dime in tuition or fees up front while attending school. Instead, students will pay after they graduate by taking a percentage of their monthly paycheck (approximately 3-5 percent) and putting it toward their accumulated tuition bill from their time in college.
“The funding system in Oregon is broken,” said Diane Saunders, director of communications for the Oregon University System. “The golden age of funding for education is long gone. We’re looking for a solution to both the struggles of students paying for college, as well as trying to fix Oregon’s budget.”
One of the prominent issues with the bill is the need to make a self-generating pool of capital that can sustain students and their tuition fees until they graduate and start making their payments. Once students graduate, they’ll have 25 years to pay off their tuition. Whatever isn’t paid after 25 years will be discharged or, in other words, forgiven.
A test program must be put forward to the 2015 legislature, which means the “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back” couldn’t be active until 2019 at the least.