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Oregon passes "Pay Forward, Pay Back" bill for tuition-free higher education

While everyone else is worrying about the insane cost of a college education and Congress totally fucking up Millennials' last hopes and dreams of getting an education without spending the rest of our lives knee-deep in debt, the fine state of Oregon is taking steps to solve the problem. (And also, in unrelated news, continuing to be uniquely awesome for women. Just sayin'.)


On Monday, the Oregon state legislature unanimously passed a bill urging the creation of a "Pay Forward, Pay Back" program wherein Oregon's seven state universities would no longer charge tuition and fees to residents. Instead, students would sign a contract agreeing to pay back a certain percentage of their post-graduation income for a certain number of years. (This article says 3% for 24 years, but I have no idea where those numbers are coming from since they aren't in the text of the bill.)

This is obviously only a first step—the bill, once signed by the nicely-mustached Governor John Kitzhaber, simply directs the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to "consider" the creation of a pilot program. There are also a lot of issues to work out involving initial funding for the program as well as what happens with students who attend but don't graduate from the universities. But it's a clear push to change the current sad state of higher education, and hopefully more states will start taking initiative to solve problems with education that the federal government can't.

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