Higher education is a public good that is fundamental to economic mobility, workforce development, political participation, and a thriving democracy.
By 2018, 63% of jobs will require higher education. But over the last 30 years, state governments have defunded public higher education, while the federal government has created and maintained a loan-driven financial market to offset state disinvestment and escalating tuition. Each year, students and their families bear more and more of the cost of higher education, while median family incomes have stagnated. As a result, 70% of students are graduating from college with an average debt of over $29,000.
Restore access to higher education through Pay It Forward.
- Pay It Forward entirely replaces the largest accelerator of student debt – upfront tuition – which keeps millions of would-be students from pursuing higher education.
- Over time, the Pay It Forward trust fund will be financially self-sustaining.
- By linking contributions to students’ incomes, Pay It Forward allows graduates to choose work based on their interests and skills, rather than solely on the prospect of higher income.
- Pay It Forward works hand-in-hand with other forms of federal, state and private investments in higher education and financial aid.
Increase public funding of higher education. Tuition levels have reached historically high levels, with tuition at four-year public institutions accounting for almost one-fifth of median household incomes nationwide. The current system of unlimited debt financing allows institutions to raise tuition without regard for students’ and their families’ economic security or their graduates’ success. State legislatures must increase their investments in higher education and drive down tuition costs.
Reverse the dependence on student debt. Both Pay It Forward and increasing public investment in higher education will reduce students’ and families’ reliance on debt to pay for higher education.
The undersigned call on local, state and federal lawmakers to implement Pay It Forward, and increase investment in public higher education, to lower tuition and restore and expand access to higher education, relieve the financial burden on students and their families, and reverse the trend of allowing Wall Street to profit off of a public good.