Today, Representative Larry Seaquist pledged to introduce legislation for Pay It Forward, a program that could enable Washington students to attend college and graduate debt-free.
Rep. Seaquist discussed the legislation during an interview with KUOW noting that he will sponsor a “Pay It Forward” bill in the 2014 legislative session. Pay It Forward is a new approach to financing higher education. It allows students to enroll in community college, vocational training or at a four-year university without paying any tuition up-front. Instead, students commit to interest-free contributions from their salaries after they graduate and secure gainful employment.
The program is designed to give students greater security in knowing they won’t be burdened with crippling loan repayments and exploding interest rates.
Citing bipartisanship support, Rep. Seaquist, who is chair of the House Higher Education Committee, says he looks forward to continuing conversations with fellow legislators, colleges, and higher education organizations to develop a program design that is right for Washington:
“The cost of going to college is hurting our economy and its damaging the ability of Washington state families to get their kids the right education.”
Washington isn’t the only state considering Pay It Forward. Oregon recently passed unanimous legislation to design a Pay It Forward pilot program. Legislators in Ohio have also introduced Pay It Forward legislation and representatives in several other states are exploring ways to legislate the program in their capitols.
Rep. Seaquist stated during the interview that he is confident he’ll be able to rapidly introduce a comprehensive Pay It Forward plan for Washington due to the years of research and analysis completed by the Economic Opportunity Institute.
At EOI, we’re excited to work with the legislature, stakeholders and Washington residents over the next year to design, pass and implement the nation’s first debt-free degree program.
by EOI Intern Elissa Goss