Should States “Pay It Forward” for Higher Education?

New models of funding higher education are currently being considered in debates throughout America. One recent debate concerns funding through “Pay It Forward” (PIF) programs. Since 2013, at least 24 states have considered legislation on PIF models of higher education finance. While details differ, the rapid proliferation of PIF program proposals shows a willingness to move from the current system of upfront payment to an income-based system of payment after leaving college.

What are “Pay It Forward” programs?

The National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) has put together a map of states in which PIF legislation has been introduced or passed. According to NACAC, 22 states have considered PIF legislation, while a more recent report by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission notes that at least 24 states have considered such proposals. Some states (like Ohio) define PIF as a deferred tuition plan, in which students would pay for college upon departure (not entry) from an institution. Other states (like Florida) defined PIF as an income share agreement, in which students would pay a portion of their income upon separation from a higher education institution.

What is deferred tuition?

Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence: Lessons in the Aftermath of an Academic Study’s Publication

Recently, Dr. Christopher Lubienski and I were pleased to have our research, regarding media influence in education, published in the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA). Better yet, and with irony in light of study topic and findings,[1]our work generated some media influence of its own. Organizations such as Media Matters and the Australian (see here and here) covered the article, as did education writers like Alexander Russo (see here). We even learned (via a Tweet, of course) that Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, referenced our work at an event. Because one of the discussion points of the paper was that scholars should strive to share their findings and knowledge in new and social media,[2] I’ve decided to use this blog post to share a few reflections.[3] Specifically, I consider why this study might have received some attention, focusing mostly upon actionable explanations.

E-Advocacy and E-vidence: How do Bloggers Participate in Education Reform?

Networks of intermediary organizations (IONs) are penetrating the education policy space with a range of ideas and “evidence,” brokering knowledge to policy actors and the public at large. Increasingly, we are observing IOs gaining traction as key players in advocacy and policymaking in the U.S. public education sector around tenuous reforms such as charter schools, merit pay, vouchers, and Parent Trigger. Operating in a myriad of forms, IONs often include a mix of the “big three” foundations (i.e. Gates, Walton, Broad), advocacy groups, think tanks, academic research networks, policy groups, and journalists. Several articles from our research study on evidence use among IOs and policymakers give empirical accounts of this phenomenon at the national and local levels in Denver, New York City, and New Orleans (see Further Reading).