Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Measure would help students pay tuition

The Register Guard
October 17th, 2014


Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler is asking voters to approve a novel way to help the state’s college students carry their ever-increasing load of student debt.
His idea — now on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot as Measure 86 — is to create a state-funded and operated endowment that would spin off interest for scholarships for students.
The measure would be a baby step toward restoring the past practice in which the public, via state government, paid the lion’s share of tuition costs and students borrowed less.
Today, University of Oregon students, through tuition and fees, pay as much as 80 percent of the cost of their education.
Roughly half of UO students leave college with debt — and the average amount is $24,528, according to the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success.
“Students have seen a ridiculous escalation in the price that they’re paying,” Wheeler said. “There’s been a virtual dollar-for-dollar cost shift from the state’s general fund onto the backs of students and their families.
“That means (students) either take on more debt or they work more jobs and take a longer time to graduate or they drop out — or they do a combination.”
The equation is similar at community colleges — and the result is soaring student loan defaults. 


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