Waived tuition fees may be on the horizon for California State University students. The catch? Students must promise a percentage of their post-graduation salary to the institution.
Assembly Bill 154 has proposed a loan free alternative payment method for students looking to pursue higher education. AB 154 was brought forward by Assemblyman Randy Voepel, who modeled the bill after a similar system used by Purdue University.
“I came back to college at 40 because I couldn’t afford it at 20,” said Julie Haltom, a fifth year history major. “I still had to take some loans, and I don’t know how I’m gonna pay them. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.”
According to the legislation, universities interested in the program will be chosen no earlier than the 2021-22 academic year and will be open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students would be required to pay a portion of their income six months after graduation for a maximum of 10 years.
The payments will be income percentage based, so students earning more will pay more monthly. Graduates who end up making substantial salaries may end up paying more than loan alternatives. Students earning less than $20,000 a year would be excluded from making payments until their salary increases.
“I pay everything myself, so I understand the immediacy to pay back the loans after you graduate,” said Daniel Byun, a fourth year math major. “Having that percentage taken out of your salary is worth it because after you graduate, you might not even find a job. I think that is tremendously more worth it than having to pay back the student loans right after you graduate.”
The average debt Long Beach State students amass for tuition and expenses is over $19,000 according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
“There is so much interest it’s crazy,” said Marlon Campos, a transfer theater arts major. “You feel like you’re paying so much and you can’t see any difference.”
To jump-start the program, funds will be collected and pooled in a CSU income share revolving agreement reserve. Funds will be dispersed from the reserve to participating schools to offset the absence of tuition money.
“We are going to school to do something better with our lives,” Campos said. “We’re trying to go to school to contribute to society and the community as much as we can.”
AB 154 could be discussed in late February.
Hannah Getahun, Assistant News Editor, contributed to this story.
Austin Brumblay is a third year journalism major and first year transfer student at Long Beach State. He grew up in Santa Cruz Calif., attended Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo – where he graduated with high honors and chose LBSU for the fast-paced metropolitan journalism. Austin formerly reported on local politics and city council meetings in San Luis Obispo County but has since transitioned into photojournalism with an emphasis on sports. He looks to build experience in sports reporting and eventually work for a print outlet as a writer. Austin is a diehard San Francisco Giants fan and being an orange fish in a large blue sea scares him – but the reassurance that his team wins when it matters helps him dodge his fears.