U.S. Reps. Dr. Mark Green (R-TN-07) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15) on Monday introduced a bipartisan bill to allow prospective students to reach agreements with colleges to pay for tuition with future earnings.
The “Kids to College Act” bill is a response to the recent college admissions scandals. It authorizes “income share agreements,” where students borrow money from the school to pay tuition and repay the college or university with a percentage of future earnings, according to a press release from Green’s office. This way, colleges and universities are incentivized in helping students secure good paying employment after they graduate.
Green’s and Gonzalez’s bill comes in response to multiple media outlets, including The New York Times, last week reporting a major federal sting that resulted in at least 50 people being arrested. Officials said the scheme revolved around a college admissions company allegedly being bribing university officials to admit students on false pretenses as members of sports teams or allegedly cheating on standardized tests, according to The Times.
Those who were busted included actress Lori Loughlin, famous for “Full House,” Loughlin’s husband and fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, and actress Felicity Huffman, according to a story by the Los Angeles Times.
Green tweeted, “We’ve learned some of America’s elites bribed admissions counselors and bumped deserving kids onto wait lists. Now more than ever we need to open the college admissions process to deserving children from struggling families with ‘income share agreements.’”
We've learned some of America’s elites bribed admissions counselors and bumped deserving kids onto wait lists. Now more than ever we need to open the college admissions process to deserving children from struggling families with "income share agreements." https://t.co/gvXeQwF6eB
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) March 18, 2019
“The Kids to College Act would do just that,” Green said. “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.”
Gonzalez said, “Every prospective college student deserves fair, equal access and consideration to a higher education – without the threat of monumental student loan debt. 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,” Gonzalez said. “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.”
Nonpartisan think tank The Heritage Foundation said that income share agreements have the “potential to revolutionize college financing” by moving away from government loans. The government loan system is $1.5 trillion in debt, meaning taxpayers are liable for students who cannot pay back loans, the organization said. The income share agreement concept dates to the 1950s.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.