Students recently were told of the benefits of a new movement aimed at getting a program called Pay if Forward into Washington state’s schools.
On Nov. 13 in the Allied Arts and Health Building, Maggie Humphries and Kelly Smith from the Economic Opportunity Institute explained what the program is meant to be.
Pay it Forward, which was created by the Economic Institute and then put into effect by Portland University, is an alternative program for paying for college.
Essentially, Pay it Forward would eliminate paying upfront tuition costs, or eliminate the need to take out student loans. Instead, students would pay nothing upfront, but after graduation a student will pay either 1 percent for a university, or .75 percent for community college, of their yearly income four times a year to their past school for between 10-25 years.
Smith and Humphries explained this to students through a PowerPoint presentation and applied to them through personal experiences.
“If you knew how much college loan debt I had you’d walk out of this room right now,” Smith said. “It’s terrifying to think about.”
The main points shared on why this program is better than taking out loans were that it takes out the psychological fear of going to college, allows people to study what they want, not worrying about how much money they’ll make and it ensures that the next generations can attend college as well.
Soon a small test piloting program of Pay it Forward will begin in Oregon. The bill to test the program was past this summer, and will be what many other states look at to see if the program could work for them.
In Washington state, a bill concerning Pay it Forward is expected to be voted on in the upcoming session. Both Humphries and Smith encouraged students to get involved in the movement, and let their legislators know they’re interested in it.
Pay it Forward has the potential to be in any public colleges in the state; however, the first major step will be finding the funding to support the program. This is why supporters want students to get involved, so that the movement is large enough to get recognized as important.
“I think one of the greatest things about Pay it Forward has going for it is how fast it has gone from an idea to a movement,” Humphries said.
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