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Oregon Lawmakers Seek Revenue Review Of 'Pay It Forward' Financial Aid Pilot

Oregon legislators are taking a long look this session at possibly funding an experiment in college financial aid.

What's called the "Pay It Forward pilot" bill has landed in the House Revenue committee after narrowly passing out of the Higher Education committee.

The idea is to use state lottery or bond dollars to help Oregon students pay for college. Then after they graduate, they would pay back a percentage of their income to the state.

Supporters like Alejandro Juarez with Oregon Working Families say "Pay It Forward" could be a sustainable option for students and the state. Juarez is hoping the Revenue Committee will help make the case.

"One of the things that we're encountering is that any new programs have a level of skepticism from legislators that is hard to overcome," Juarez says. "I think they need to hear it from their own committees, or their own peers."

Bill supporters say the funding amount is still in discussion, but Juarez says the idea is to start small - with $6 million to help about 1000 students.

Juarez says a four-year pilot could cost $56 million.

<p>Students from around the state gathered outside the State Capital Building on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 to rally for an increase in public spending toward higher education.</p>
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Students from around the state gathered outside the State Capital Building on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 to rally for an increase in public spending toward higher education.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.