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07/16/2013 05:31 pm ET Updated Jul 16, 2013

Oregon's 'Pay It Forward' Plan: Rep. Michael Dembrow Hopes Tuition Proposal Could Become 'Model For Nation'

Oregon's state legislature is looking into a radical new idea: allow students to attend college for free in exchange for a small percentage of their paychecks for over 20 years post-graduation. Some see the "Pay It Forward" plan as a solution, but to others it's a gimmick.

On HuffPost Live Tuesday, Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, explained that the idea was first pitched by a group of students at Portland State University. "Pay It Forward" gained traction over the legislative session and was ultimately passed by the state's legislators.

"Our Higher Education Coordination Commission is going to study it and put a pilot together and then bring it back to the legislature for approval, and then we'll try it," Dembrow said. "If it looks promising, we'll extend it, and then perhaps be a model for the nation if it works out like we hope it will."

Jordan Weissman, an associate editor at The Atlantic, told HuffPost Live's Jacob Soboroff that he's concerned that some students could actually end up worse off at the start of their careers under a "Pay It Forward" plan. But John Burbank, the Executive Director of the Economic Opportunity Institute, said his hope is that the program will result in a reduction in tuition as more students express interest in participating, ultimately creating a lever to increase funding of higher education.

Watch the Full Discussion on HuffPost Live.

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The 10 Members Of Congress Who Owe The Most In Student Debt As Of 2011 (Plus A Few More)
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The 10 Members Of Congress Who Owe The Most In Student Debt As Of 2011 (Plus A Few More)

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