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Underfunding college shifts burden, debt to students

Commentary | September 20, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It’s no surprise that higher education is getting more expensive in this country. But it might be a surprise that it doesn’t have to, if we’d fund education properly. Instead, we encourage students to make up for funding shortfalls with student loans, impeding their ability to buy a home, have children or save for their retirement.

Inslee’s Budget A Victory For Equitable Education

Commentary | December 20, 2016 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

South Seattle residents should demand their legislators push state House leadership to go bold. In these dark times for our nation, we can’t limit our own vision of a just society with vibrant diverse communities and true opportunities to pursue happiness for all. We won’t get out of the darkness without hope and light.

Fact-checking Olympia’s Initiative 1 proposal to fund tuition through an income tax

News Coverage | October 31, 2016 | The Olympian

Supporters and opponents of an unprecedented income tax initiative in Olympia are working hard to spread their message to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. But are both campaigns sticking to the facts?

Wealthy King County donors bankroll Olympia ballot proposal

News Coverage | October 17, 2016 | The Olympian

Initiative 1 calls for creating a public college tuition fund that would be funded by a 1.5 percent tax on all household income within Olympia city limits that exceeds $200,000 a year. The Economic Opportunity Institute of Seattle drew up the blueprint for Initiative 1 and has been a driving force behind the initiative.

Petition calls for taxing Olympia’s wealthiest households to create college fund

News Coverage | April 15, 2016 | The Olympian

A new proposal calls for creating a 1.5% tax on household income in excess of $200,000 in Olympia, WA. If it passes, every public high school graduate and GED recipient living inside city boundaries would be eligible for money to pay for the first year of tuition at any community college, or an equivalent amount can be applied to tuition at any public university in Washington.

Michigan plan promises to cover college tuition, but students must ‘pay it forward’

News Coverage | May 19, 2015 | PBS Newshour

Higher education doesn’t come cheap, but legislators in Michigan have proposed a creative solution for financing college tuition — make it free. That’s the first step. Second step: require the student to “pay it forward” by contributing a fixed percentage of their post-collegiate income into a fund that would help aid future college students.

Maryland legislature considers bill to defer college payment, spread across years

News Coverage | February 4, 2015 | Diamondback

The current system of paying for college is unsustainable. To address the student debt crisis, the Maryland House of Delegates is considering a bill to study a Pay It Forward program that could dramatically change the way students pay for college. John Burbank, executive director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, developed the Pay It Forward concept and works closely with states trying to study and test the program.

Inside Outlook: Tuition and Debt [VIDEO]

News Coverage | January 27, 2015 | UWTV

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. What is driving these tuition increases and what can be done to slow this trend? What can we do to insure affordable access to higher education for future generations? On this episode of Inside Outlook, we address these questions and more. (Feat. John Burbank, Executive Director, EOI)

Why Can’t College Be Free?

News Coverage | June 13, 2014 | In These Times

Is the best tuition no tuition, and is that really feasible? In These Times asked John Burbank, executive director of the progressive policy think tank the Economic Opportunity Institute; Sara Goldrick-Rab, associate professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Bob Samuels, a lecturer at UCLA and author of Why Public Higher Education Should Be Free, to give their proposals.

“Pay It Forward” Tuition Program Passes Illinois House

News Coverage | March 6, 2014 | Journal Star

The Illinois House has approved a plan to study alternative ways for people to pay for college.The "Pay it Forward" plan calls on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to consider programs other states have adopted to address the rising cost of a college education. Such programs allow attendance at community colleges or state universities tuition-free as long as the student signs a contract to repay the state from a portion of future earnings.

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