Eliminate tuition for public universities: Pa. politician

tuition debt
Credit: Salon.com

As student loan debt continues to skyrocket, one local politician wants to investigate eliminating tuition for the state’s public colleges and universities and instituting a new way for schools to finance education, a proposal he’s calling “a revolutionary step in how public higher education is funded and accessed in Pennsylvania.”

State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D–Philadelphia) announced he’ll be asking a legislative committee to review a plan popularly known as “Pay It Forward,” which would collect a portion of students’ postgraduate earnings over a set period of time, rather than requiring them to shoulder the cost of their education up front.

“With Pennsylvania’s college graduates shouldering the second highest level of student loan debt in the country, the need to take a hard look at our existing system of funding higher education is urgent,” Boyle said in a statement.

“This legislation would initiate the process of conducting a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the Pay It Forward model.”

The plan, first detailed last year in a report by the Seattle based Economic Opportunity Institute, would create what Boyle calls “a trust fund for public higher education,” financed by seed money until the number of paying graduates grew to a size rendering the trust self-sufficient.

The initial study estimated that development would take more than 20 years, though the figure could vary based on the size and projections of postgraduate earnings.

“At this point, we don’t have a clear idea on what the needs of Pay It Forward in Pennsylvania would be,” Boyle said.

“That is why we need this study, so that we can gain a better understanding of this plan before discussing whether it is the most effective way of addressing the problems of student debt and college attainment in the Commonwealth.”

Boyle’s bill, if passed, would create a bipartisan committee of state representatives and senators to examine the Pay it Forward program’s costs, identify potential funding sources and determine the feasibility of starting a pilot at selected public colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.

The legislator said he was inspired by several other states that have recently passed similar legislation, most notably Oregon.

“I think the number of states that have expressed interest in this model demonstrates that the traditional way of financing public higher education is fundamentally broken and that there is a strong demand for new ideas,” Boyle said.

“The Oregon bill offers an excellent template for how such a game-changing proposal should be approached. Given that this plan would likely require an investment of tens of billions of dollars before becoming solvent, carefully examining the merits and cost of Pay It Forward on an objective and nonpartisan basis will provide insight into whether such a program is feasible in Pennsylvania.”

Boyle said he’ll introduce the bill calling for further examination of the plan when the state House reconvenes in September.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.