Tithe for Tuition

In July 1999, I submitted my Master’s thesis – “A New Model for the Creative Use of College Endowments to Reduce College Tuition.”  My daughter Allison was a college student at the time. I was angry at “the system”. Stakeholders who manage this system – investors, donors, academics, philanthropists, accountants, lawyers and elected officials – were driven by greed, and ignored the primary beneficiaries, students and their parents.

Colleagues in my network – investors, donors, academics, philanthropists, accountants, lawyers and elected officials – were shocked at my findings. They agreed with my thesis and urged me to go public. However even the colleagues in my network benefited from the current state of  the education finance system. Where would I start? Fast-forward 16 years – “the system” has evolved into a monster that robs our children of their future.

How do we fix a system that is so broken? Flip the system on its head. I have a concept that I would love for private, liberal arts colleges to try.

Tithe For Tuition – A simple concept, easy to remember and replicate. A religious term –  many U.S. colleges and universities were founded by religious organizations – and tithe (10) – a promise by a college to provide a 4 year degree that will last for 10 years in return for a promise by a student to pay 10% of income for 10 years. Students and Administration, the most important stakeholders in the system, drive the process. The solution is SIMPLE:

  • Colleges and universities collect loans from alums and former students
  • 0% interest, no fee loans only
  • Student pays 10% of income for 10 years
  • 10 years after graduation or last date of attendance, any remaining balance is forgiven
  • Mediation for disputes

Tithe for tuition is a solution that has immediate impact. We need to start presenting these solutions to institutions now, instead of continuing the hand-wringing over student loan debt that has been happening for the past 25 years.

We already have a model – Berea College, founded 1855, has provided a free education for the poor of Appalachia for 160 years.

If you agree please share this email and let’s get a movement going to rid America of student loan debt.

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