To: U.S. Congress

Let's change the way we pay for college

Let's change the way we pay for college

Student loans are crushing our young people and their families. We can't ignore this huge problem any longer -- America needs a bold, new approach to the way we pay for college. That's why we urge you to support Senator Jeff Merkley's "Pay It Forward" plan to guarantee college affordability by replacing student loan debt with a commitment from students to pay a set percentage of their income once they are working. When Senator Merkley introduces legislation featuring “Pay It Forward”, I urge you to act without delay.

Why is this important?

I was the first person in my family to attend college. It changed my life. It opened the doors of opportunity, and helped me build a life for my family.

I still live in that same working-class neighborhood in East Multnomah County. And my neighbors, many of them young people who will also be the first in their families to go to college, look at the mountain of debt that is now the price of college and worry about those doors closing.

We can't afford to ignore this huge problem any longer.

That's why I’ve proposed a new approach, to ensure the doors of opportunity can open wide. It’s an idea that started with a group of college students in Oregon, and I’m proud to bring it to Congress.

Under our "Pay It Forward" proposal, the federal government will provide the up-front cost of their education and students will pay into the system once they graduate and find gainful employment. Because the amount is pegged to their income, affordability is assured.

Whether they want to pursue a career in the sciences or the arts, public service or entrepreneurship, teaching or engineering, our young people deserve to be able to follow their dreams. Massive, backbreaking college loans will become a thing of the past, and graduates will be able to afford to own a home and raise their own families.

Soon, I'll be officially introducing legislation in Congress based on this “Pay It Forward” plan. I'll be sharing these petitions with my colleagues in Congress to make sure they understand how much public support there is for a plan that guarantees college affordability.

America’s future depends on ensuring that young people can afford a college education. Please join me and tell Congress to change the way we pay for college.

Senator Jeff Merkley


How it will be delivered

I'll be sharing these petitions with my colleagues in Congress to make sure they understand how much public support there is for a plan that guarantees college affordability.

Reasons for signing

  • I have two adult children who have huge college loan debt. There are so many countries where higher education is FREE! We need an educated population more than anything (starting with early childhood education). . .Thank you for your efforts.
  • A student today turned down the chance for a scholarship which would have helped pay for him to become a teacher. He said it just didn't make sense to spend that much money on a teaching degree. This is very sad. Where will our next generation of teachers come from?
  • Makes more sense, I can't pay a bill if I'm unemployed, and with the economy the way it is, it's hard to find a job to get enough money to live on. Minimum wage doesn't pay the bills.


2013-08-28 14:03:13 -0700

50,000 signatures reached

2013-08-26 10:31:52 -0700

20,000 signatures reached

2013-08-26 08:52:28 -0700

10,000 signatures reached

2013-08-26 07:45:33 -0700

5,000 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:39:42 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:28:34 -0700

500 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:14:25 -0700

100 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:09:53 -0700

50 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:07:22 -0700

25 signatures reached

2013-08-26 06:03:42 -0700

10 signatures reached