An Act To Increase the Affordability of College Tuition and Attract Professionals to Maine
CONCEPT DRAFT SUMMARY
This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.
This bill proposes to implement a comprehensive strategy to increase the affordability of tuition at state public universities and colleges for Maine residents, thereby increasing the graduation rate from those state public institutions of higher education, and to attract to and keep in Maine young professionals. The comprehensive strategy may include, but is not limited to:
1. Establishing a textbook scholarship program, in coordination with the public institutions of higher education to provide scholarships for the purchase of textbooks at those institutions. The scholarships would be available to graduates of Maine high schools who have a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale;
2. Establishing scholarships or providing incentives for degree completion with agreements to remain in the State after graduation for specified periods. Under this program, a full scholarship for the 4th and final year of school at a Maine public institution of higher education would be provided to students who agree to work in the State for a certain period of time following graduation;
3. Requiring the Department of Education and the Finance Authority of Maine cooperatively to issue low-interest student loans to students attending a public or private institution of higher education in this State who meet certain criteria, such as financial need, academic merit, graduating within 4 years or agreeing to work in public service for a certain period after graduation;
4. Requiring the Finance Authority of Maine to establish additional tax credits, state grants and other forms of financial aid for higher education for residents of this State who are graduates from a Maine public institution of higher education and an education loan repayment program for all graduates of an institution of higher education who are residents of this State;
5. Establishing a loan repayment program for graduates employed in certain high-demand fields in this State;
6. Establishing goals for college graduation attainment for the next 25 years;
7. Exploring the development of an entity, such as a board of regents, to oversee higher education in this State in order to best serve the higher education needs of the residents and businesses of this State; and
8. Establishing a pilot project, based on Oregon's "Pay Forward, Pay Back" model, under which a student enrolled in a public institution of higher education, in lieu of paying tuition or fees, contracts to pay the State a certain percentage of the student's annual income following graduation for a specified number of years. The pilot project would eventually replace the current system of charging a resident of the State tuition and fees for enrollment at a state public institution of higher education. The pilot project would:
A pilot project may include variations by specific institution depending on the total cost of education at the institution, the portion of the cost that is paid by the State, the number of years of student repayment specified in the contract and the percentage of annual adjusted gross income specified in the contract.