Learn Now, Pay Later! NJ’s New Approach to Higher Ed Payment?

by Marie Herb 

Rather than just talking about the many problems in society today, the State of New Jersey is trying to solve one. On the topic of higher education, many young adults are struggling to pay back enormous debts as a result of seeking higher education. New Jersey is proposing that students attending a public institution will be able to go to college for “free.” Then, for the next twenty-four years they will pay back three percent of their income to those institutions for going to school.

The proposed idea is not perfect. This system could easily be abused. After graduation, a student could intentionally not seek a job; therefore, not having to pay off their part of the debt. Also, there are problems if a student cannot find a job. Also, after graduating college some students will pay more than others. Perhaps, rather than basing payment solely on income, a total amount to repay is set, and students have to continue to pay that back based on their income. For example, a student would have to pay back $50,000 in debt. And a student out of college is making $50,000 per year. Therefore, paying back about 5% of their income per year, it would take around 20 years to pay back. In this case, every student would pay the same amount back, but would just take different times for different students based on the amount of money they were making.

Overall, this idea is something new, it has some issues that would need to be figured out, but with the state of Oregon piloting At least New Jersey is trying something new rather than the old system. Perhaps by trying something new, struggling students will be able to help get the education that they have been striving towards for so long.


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