Pay it forward college tuition program - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Pay it forward college tuition program

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(02/11/14) - If you are a college student or know of one with student debt, there could be help for you.

State leaders are trying to make it a little easier for people who are struggling to pay back their loans.

It's part of the Pay it Forward Pilot Program. This is a new tuition proposal.

State Senator Jim Ananich says the five year pilot program is a realistic way to pay for college.

Right now, the average rate of student loan debt has risen to about 6 percent.

Almost every college student we spoke with said they're not sure how they're going to pay back their student loans.

"It's pretty intimidating because every year it's just building up," said UM-Flint junior Allen Williams.

Experts say that in Michigan, the average 2012 college graduate owed nearly $29,000 after graduation.

That worries students like UM-Flint senior Desmond Sheppard.

"It's not really the finding the job after graduation part that's really disturbing me, it's more of whether or not that job is going to give enough money for a monthly pay check to be able to balance out the amount of student loans," he said.

State leaders are hoping to make college more affordable in the future.

They introduced legislation that would take some of the stress off of 200 students attending universities and community colleges in Michigan.

"Where they go to school and it's paid for. Three years to finish community college and five to finish college, then when they graduate they have a period of time to pay back the loans at four percent with no interest. You basically pay back 4 percent of your income," said state Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

That means once a student graduates, they'll pay back a certain percentage of their income if the proposal is passed.

"It sounds like a very good deal for the most part because it makes it seem more like an apprenticeship but at the same time, it makes it difficult, it's like where's that money going to come from because you don't really get something for nothing," Sheppard said.

Senator Ananich says if this proposal is passed, it would cost about $2 million to fund the program for the first year.

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