University of Washington TV tackles college tuition crisis

January 29, 2015 | Economic Opportunity Institute

“Rising tuition is not unique to the University of Washington. It is being felt by students across the country and has profound implications for both the individual and the economy at large.”

Washington State is facing a college tuition crisis. With a 650% increase since the 1970s, the debt load has reached $1.2 trillion, having a profound impact on families’ ability to access economic security. Today, 7 in 10 students are graduating with an average $29,400 in debt, making them less likely to own homes, buy cars, graduate with a STEM degree, and spur economic growth. Meanwhile, the real cost of university operations has actually decreased, due to increased efficiency and technological advancements.

The most recent episode of Inside Outlook, UWTV’s current affairs news program, tackles the issue. EOI’s Pay It Forward program is highlighted as an alternative to the current debt crisis. Listen in as Executive Director John Burbank discusses the issue with students and local leaders in education.

Pay It Forward is a pragmatic and innovative funding mechanism to help Washington students access college – without a lifetime of crippling debt.  Last year, Pay It Forward legislation was introduced in seven states as well as at the federal level, bringing the total number of states that have considered Pay It Forward up to 25.

This legislative session, Washington State legislators will consider HB 1344, which proposes a pilot program of Pay It Forward for Washington Nurse Educators. By removing the barrier of upfront tuition, the program would put advanced degrees within reach for more nurses, increasing the number of much-needed master’s and Ph.D nurses to become faculty and pass on their knowledge.

With innovative policy solutions like Pay It Forward, we can forge a path towards economic prosperity for all.

By Sam Hatzenbeler, MPHc

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Posted in Higher Education

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