By Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner
When Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., asked Betsy DeVos to endorse tuition-free college, the incoming education secretary parried the demand with an undeniable observation. “There’s nothing in life that is truly free — somebody is going to pay for it,” she replied.
That exchange traversed the familiar arguments about government programs that distinguish conservatives and liberals. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, however, has a growing inclination to sidestep that debate. They want college students to receive an education without putting young professionals or the federal government further in debt, and they might have figured out how to do it.
“Big picture here: There’s currently $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt held by the federal government, and 43 percent of the roughly 22 million Americans with loans weren’t making payments as of Jan. 1,” Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., told the Washington Examiner. “There’s certainly a need for some sort of way to finance your college education that does not place the risk on taxpayers.”
And so, Young has introduced the Investing in Student Success Act of 2017 in order to facilitate an alternative model of financing education. Critically, the funding would not come from the federal government, but private companies who sign “income-sharing agreements” with students. As the name implies, the investor finances the student’s tuition, in exchange for a percentage of the individual’s income for a set number of years after graduation.
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