Let’s start out with two concepts. Thousands of years ago, there were about 1,000 people on earth. If this is the case, let’s think that all of us are related and cousins.
This will give us the mentality of wanting to help our family members. Let’s think that “there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.” Many of the wealthiest people in the world have obtained their wealth only by employing the men and women who go to college and become engineers, doctors, space programmers, teachers of our children and so forth.
The college-educated people are the minds of America now and for future generations. Our philosophy now is: go to college, get a degree, find a job and end up for years paying off the school tuition debt.
Think of it — it should be the complete opposite. They should go to college, become these educated graduates and go into the workplace continuing to make our country the greatest now and into the future. We owe them for their skills and knowledge that they learned in college to help make all of our lives and progress for all Americans to continue to enjoy the prosperity and freedoms we possess.
“Just finance it!” This has been the advice that the U.S. has given to young people for decades now. We borrow money to go to college, to buy …
Look at all the industries—an evolution of this knowledge that these college grads have made by invention and creativity. The idea that they have to pay America for years to come to give us the greatness that we are is simply ridiculous. It should be the reverse—whereas the student gets a degree from college without being saddled down by debt for years after they have completed their degree and have begun contributing to continue making our country the greatest.
For the long term on education funding, I would like us to eventually have a plan by which the tuition cost to these students would be completely free to them.
Income tax relief
My plan, to start with, will have a student graduate from college with a degree. They would start paying off their student loan the year after graduation for 10 years.
For example: if a student received $60,000 in student loans, then they would pay back $6,000 a year for 10 years with no interest after they graduate. For each year the student is paying $6,000, they would be entitled to deduct $6,000 off their income tax until the loan is paid in full.
If they graduated after five years or six years or seven years, they would start their loan payment after the fifth, sixth or seventh year, upon graduation if the IRS will allow this plan.
My idea would be: All companies or individuals that hire a college educated student should pay $10,000 a year to a superfund for each college student they hire. These students make these companies and businesses great with their ideas and innovations that they learned in college where their mind was expanded and are now benefiting this business or company—helping grow and thrive.
Without these students and their new ideas, their company would be stagnant. They bring knowledge and strategy and innovation to the table, which all help create a flourishing business. This plan would start with companies hiring a college-educated employee. That company would pay a $10,000 per college student annual fee that would go into a super fund.
This would be very little annually for the company acquiring these highly skilled and educated student minds. This is not a far-fetched plan as these companies would continue to pick and hire the best minds colleges have to offer.
I believe that people like myself — and thousands of other Americans — could donate a million dollars to this plan towards the betterment of our students to partially alleviate our nation’s student debt.
The American College Tuition Superfund will receive 10% of the government spending that is allocated to college and university education, to put towards student debt that is currently outstanding for all students. Any school receiving government funding will be obligated to put that 10% into the superfund now and into the future or the government funds will be suspended.
If government funding for the year (which includes federal, state, and local governments) for higher education totals about $170 billion that would obligate approximately $17 billion of that total to be put into the American College Superfund annually. Student debt interest that is currently outstanding will be paid down first. Thereafter, the 10% contribution to the superfund would begin to pay down past principal (owed), current principal (owed), and future principal (owed) on all student loans.
American College Endowment Funds
Another part for the American College Tuition Plan may not seem popular for universities or the country by first reading of what I am proposing. Most universities would say NIMBY or “not in my backyard” that they do not want to share their wealth. However, I hope after they read the text in totality they will see with their great minds that this will be a win-win for all.
Each university that presently has an endowment program would give 25% of their endowment money on hand to the graduated students of that college to help pay past, present and future students’ outstanding interest on their loans. After the student loan interest is paid, the remainder of that dedicated fund would go toward paying past, present, and future principal owed.
Any university with an endowment fund will be obligated to put the 25% of the money in their present endowment, into the student debt fund now and into the future, or all government funds should be suspended until that university becomes part of the above.
Alumni contribution to College Student Fund & American College Tuition Superfund
For this part of the program, the money stays with the benefited university to maintain their past, present, and future student debt of their graduated student’s body of that school.
Each university, with the money from this alumni endowment, would pay for the interest first on every outstanding loan that currently exists among their graduates. Thereafter, the Alumni Contribution Fund will go towards helping to pay off their student body’s principal debt.
Each university upon commencement of this program would have a major campaign call on all existing alumni of that university. That package sent out to each alumni would state that the university is having a major fund raising program for 180 days. It should start on Oct. 1 and end on March 31 of the next year. This way, I hope the alumni donation can be deducted over a two-year period.
The money generated from this campaign could be broken down as followed:
— 40% into that university’s endowment fund;
— 40% into that university’s Alumni Contribution Student Fund to pay off some of the students’ outstanding interest and then if any is left over to go towards their principal balance owed;
— 20% into the American College Tuition Super Fund.
This campaign would help enrich the school’s endowment fund, help eliminate that school’s student debt obligations, and help the superfund by paying for all students across America.
This plan gives to all students with college debt and for all future students assuming college debt. The money would be paid back to a fund that is set up to pay these debts off as the money comes in from the students and the above funds.
I am hopeful that all the money being put into these funds would help lower the amount owed by each graduating student to help alleviate this unfair practice to our system.
It is time for a change. Remember there is no such thing as a “self-made person.”
As I said, this plan may sound socialistic, but it is not. We would all be undoing a great injustice to students who inevitably make our country prosper. As a capitalistic person, I know that we need them more than they need us I just want to right a wrong in education.
I have hope someday that all of our college graduates will have no student debt upon graduation. Let’s do this.
After reading this plan, I would respect any ideas that anyone would come up with to change or make this plan a better blueprint as I realize I am 88 years old and not infallible.
For all those like myself who did not go to college, America should be grateful that through our ambitions, trades, and hard work we are the backbone which makes America what it is — the greatest.
George Altamura is a business owner in Napa, California.
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