Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

John Burbank: On implementing Pay It Forward, the Debt-free Degree plan

Testimony by John Burbank to the Washington State Higher Education Task Force

On Pay It Forward: The Debt-Free Degree Plan for Washington 

This is a highly innovative policy proposal that involves interactions between students, parents, individual institutions, the state of Washington, the federal government, and other entities.

There are many complications that need to be explored and resolved, such as the treatment of PIF in the calculation of Pell grants, the necessity of an agreement with the IRS to follow graduates after college, interpretations of IRS tax forms, whether to pool PIF at a statewide level or at individual institutions, how PIF intersects with tuition policy (inclusion in PIF is much faster and easier if tuition is returned to the levels of 2007-2008), etc.

To work out these kinks, and determine and investigate others, we are proposing a budget proviso that would enable the state actuary, the Washington Student Achievement Council, and selected higher education institutions to further advance this concept and develop pathways for implementation. 

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