Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Congressman Mark Green, along with Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonzalez from Texas, introduced on Monday a new bill titled the “Kids to College Act,” offering students an alternative to taking on federal student loans.
The bill would allow for students “to reach innovative agreements with universities on how to pay for college,” allowing for universities to offer loans directly to students. Repayment options listed in the bill include using a percentage of the student’s future earnings, something Green argues would further incentivise universities to be more invested in helping students secure a well-paying job.
The bill is introduced in the wake of the an ongoing college admissions scandal, in which wealthy celebrities and business leaders have been accused of bribing college officials to secure admissions to top-ranking universities such as the University of Southern California and Yale.
“When our country is reeling from bombshell reports that have taught us some members of America’s elite class have gamed the systems of higher learning by bribing admissions counselors and bumping deserving kids from families with less money and influence onto wait lists, now more than ever we need policy solutions that would open up the college admissions process to deserving children from struggling families,” Green said in a statement. “The Kids to College Act would do just that. It would allow promising, hardworking youth to get an education and pursue their career goals without facing a mountain of crippling debt or hefty admissions price tags. It would also push colleges and universities to help students land good-paying jobs after graduation. By participating in income share agreements, America’s institutions of higher education can regain the public’s trust and show us they exist to build the next generation and not just make quick bucks.”
The bill essentially applies the principles of income share agreements to college loans. Often used by teaching certification programs, an income share agreement is a financial structure in which the recipient of a service pays back the debt using a percentage of future income. Proponents to the system argue such a payment structure incentivises the body that offered the service to prepare for and secure a well-paying position, while also adjusting any monthly payments to any level of income.
“Every prospective college student deserves fair, equal access and consideration to a higher education – without the threat of monumental student loan debt,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Currently, over 44 million Americans are burdened by $1.5 trillion in outstanding federal student loan debt. This bipartisan legislation would aim to level the playing field by allowing alternative repayment options through income share agreements. More importantly, the bill would ensure colleges and universities are doing their part to put graduating students on the pathway to a good paying job. I look forward to working with Congressman Green to take bold steps to tackle the student loan debt crisis and make college affordability a reality.”