"Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" works much like Social Security – in reverse. People go to school tuition-free, then pay a fraction of their income into a fund for other students to also attend, tuition-free. It was proposed last fall by the Economic Opportunity Institute in Seattle. Since then, executive director John Burbank has been asked to present it to groups nationwide concerned about the mountains of student debt.
Burbank says the toughest challenge is coming up with the seed money for the first generation of "Pay It Forward" students – after that, the plan becomes self-financing. This month, Oregon lawmakers ran with the idea, passing the first bill to create a pilot program.