AUGUSTA - On average, college graduates in Maine earn 84% more in their lifetime than those without a degree, but they also face close to $30,000 in debt.
A new pilot program called "Pay it Forward" may make it more affordable to go to school. State legislatures are working on a bill allowing students to wait until after they graduate to pay for college.
"It's an investment in Maine. It's not just an investment in individual kids. I think it's a superb idea. I think we have to try our best to figure out how to do it, how to capitalize on it," says independent gubernatorial candidate, Eliot Cutler.
New graduates would pay a percentage of their monthly income.
Waiting until after graduation benefits students, but can be costly for the state.
"It's quite challenging. It would be literally hundreds of millions of dollars to put into an account in order to create such an endeavour," explains John Fitzsimmons, the president of the Maine Community College System.
In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about the Pay it Forward method saying, "We're offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt."
Pay it Forward was developed in Oregon and has yet to be formally tested.
Jaclyn Cangro joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in September of 2013. She was raised in suburban New York and graduated cum laude from Emerson College with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2013.
While at Emerson, she won the 2012 New England Emmy Award for Best College Newscast as co-executive producer. She was also nationally ranked by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA) as one of the Top 20 Sports Broadcasters in the country, being one of two females on the list.
When not on the air, she enjoys watching and rooting for the New York Mets and New England Patriots.
She’s excited to explore all Maine has to offer! If you have any story ideas, contact her at JCangro@wvii.com or tweet her @jaclyncangro.