Buy Now, Pay Later

In other news from California, some college students have proposed a plan to change the way students pay for college, or at least when they pay for college.

According to a piece by Larry Abramson at NPR:

Under the Fix UC proposal, the bill would not come due until students graduate and start making money. “Under our proposal, students would pay 5 percent of their income for 20 years” following graduation, [University of California at Riverside junior Chris] LoCascio says.

Fix UC recently presented the idea to the university regents. The idea is that students would have a dependable bill to pay, rather than wrestling with unpredictable tuition increases and rising debt.

It’s not the first time someone has proposed an idea like this. Indeed, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom all support higher education sort of like this.

Instituting such a funding plan would be difficult, however. According to the NPR piece, the proposal, would mean that California’s college funding would operate “essentially like Social Security, in that the earnings of graduates would cover the tuition costs of the next generation.”

It would, perhaps therefore, have many of the same problems that now impact social security. If there are dramatically more college students in future generations, or if working graduates don’t make much money, the system will suffer funding problems.

But it’s worth considering. The current system, after all, has its own persistent funding problems.

“In its current form, it’s frankly unworkable,” explained University of California president Mark Yudof.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer