In the face of our $1 trillion student loan debt crisis, politicians in Oregon are moving forward with an innovative solution. Legislators there unanimously passed a bill that instructs the state’s Higher Education Coordination Commission to develop a “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back” plan to finance public higher education. Under the plan, students pay nothing while in school, then pay a fixed percentage of their income (3 percent after a 4-year degree) to fund higher education going forward. As Katrina vanden Heuvel writes, the idea represents a “huge stride toward putting an end to the crushing debt horror stories which Occupy Wall Street helped to place on the national radar.”
In her blog post, Katrina vanden Heuvel explains the “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back” plan, how it came to fruition and why it could be an innovative step towards ending our student loan debt crisis.
In a video produced by the Oregon Working Families Party, Dr. Mary King, an economist at Portland State University, breaks down the ways exorbitant levels of student debt negatively affect both students and the economy as a whole.