Pay-it-Forward: The New Liberal Rorschach Test

Pay-it-Forward plans are sweeping through state legislatures like so many summer wildfires.  Monica Potts over at American Prospect explores if the hot-idea-with-a-catchy-title is a progressive alternative to unsupportable levels of student debt, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing that will only further erode support for public funding of higher education.  (SPOILER ALERT: Maybe both at the same time?)

Oregon has already passed a pilot program, and legislators in Washington state and and Ohio are pushing to follow suit.

By the numbers: Almost $1.2 trillion and counting

In late July, the CFPB released new data indicating that total student debt has increased by 20% since the end of 2011.  As of May, 2013, the Bureau estimates that the combined total of federal and private loans approached $1.2 trillion.  For those keeping track at home, that’s $101 trillion in federal loans and $165 billion in private loans.