States in Midwest study new tuition model — no up-front payments

Two years ago, a class of college students at Portland State University in Oregon came up with an alternative way of paying for college — an idea they called “Pay it Forward.” It has quickly attracted nationwide attention, including in some of the Midwest’s state legislatures.

Under this model, students do not make up-front tuition payments. They instead agree to pay a portion of earnings after entering the workforce. The payments are made over a designated period of time.

The Illinois House unanimously passed HB 5323 in early March. It calls on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to issue a report by Dec. 1 on the feasibility of implementing a pay-it-forward model.

Michigan’s HB 5315 would establish a pilot program of at least five years involving 200 college students. Initial funding would come from the state as well as private and other public sources. Once they enter the workforce, participating students would begin to pay their tuition through a portion of their gross adjusted income (2 percent for community-college students, 4 percent for university students). For individuals who attended school tuition-free for four academic years, these payments would be made over a 20-year period.

Stateline Midwest ~ March 20141.71 MB