NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – A New College Education Proposal

Financing a college education has become a big problem for many students as well as for governments, like North Carolina’s, that help fund higher education. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains the bold new idea for financing college education in Oregon.

“The proposal is that a young person, student, or anyone wanting to go to a state-supported university in Oregon would be able to go tuition free, no cost whatsoever in terms of tuition for them to go to college. However, however they would agree to pay back over a period of 24 years in exchange … 3 percent of their salary to the state, and that money would go into a special fund, which would then be used to continue this process.

“Now, initially the state would have to borrow money to start this whole process going, and that … would gradually repay that money they borrowed from, again, the 3 percent that’s paid back.

“So a very, very interesting proposal. Obviously a number of questions arise. What happens if a student does not finish their college education and therefore doesn’t have a bump up in salary? Would they still be charged the 3 percent? Would 24 years be sufficient? Would that have to be adjusted over time?

“And then also we’ve heard some say that would this, perhaps, motivate people to go to college … who maybe would be better off doing something else with their (lives) — that they’re simply motivated to go to college because, at least then initially, it’s free.

“So, many questions here, but clearly, clearly, a very bold proposal that’s outside the box.”


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