We could rant all day about the student loan debt epidemic that’s now topped $1 trillion but two new ideas may have found ways to make school completely free. [photo: David McNew/Getty Images]
The Lumina Foundation, a private foundation committed to increasing access to higher education, and the non-profit group Redeeming America’s Promise each came up with proposals to take the price tag off of getting a college degree.
The Lumina Foundation suggested that the federal and state governments should rethink the way they disperse money for federal financial aid for tuition, fees, books and other expenses and use that money to offer all students at least two free years of college. Instead of giving a select group of students federal funds for their college degree, all students would be able to get free college for two years and could also receive stipends and jobs to help them with their living expenses.
Redeeming America’s Promise has a similar idea but on a much bigger scale. They claim that the money the federal government spends on financial aid could instead be used to provide students with full tuition scholarships. Then they would only have to take out loans to pay for their living expenses and they could pay them back on a sliding scale based on how much they earn when they leave college and start working. The best part is that colleges would not be allowed to raise their prices beyond the price of the scholarship to squeeze more money out of the students.
Frankly, we don’t care who has the backing for what idea or how it works. Just do it already! As long as it makes college free (or even closer to affordable), we’d be willing to give you a literal arm and leg to make it happen. It’s the figurative ones that bother us.