By Linda Borg. House Speaker Gordon D. Fox and House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara have introduced legislation to create a pilot program that would allow students to replace tuition with a plan that allows them to pay a percentage of their income upon graduation.
The "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" bill (H7201) is based on a similar program in Oregon, and is meant to provide a more affordable higher education option while steering students toward the fields where local employers need more skilled employees.
"This is a bold, innovative idea that would address two of our state's major challenges -- the rapid rise of college costs and the skills gap -- at once..." said Fox, D-Providence.
The legislation directs the Department of Education to create a three-year pilot program at one or more of the state's colleges by June 20, 2015. Instead of paying tuition and fees, students in the program would sign a contract to pay a percentage of their gross income to the state or their college or university after graduation for a specified number of years. The program would be available only to Rhode Island residents, and students would be required to graduate on time in order to remain eligible. More...