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Service Pays: Creating Opportunities by Linking College with Public Service

Harvard Law and Policy Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 127, 2007

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-36

17 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2008 Last revised: 30 Sep 2008

Elizabeth Warren

Harvard Law School

Sandy Baum

The Urban Institute

Ganesh Sitaraman

Vanderbilt Law School

Date Written: January 28, 2007

Abstract

If college is to be the gateway to security and success, then a new financing mechanism is essential, one that lets students take responsibility for the cost of their own educations without burdening their families unduly, forcing them into career choices that push them out of public service, or mortgaging their futures. Our Service Pays proposal is designed to give every student who wants to work hard a means of paying for college - and to give young people an economically viable option to engage in public service for a few years after college.

After describing the high costs of college and the risks associated with student debt, the paper outlines the Service Pays program. The federal government would increase the amount students can borrow in the unsubsidized Stafford loan program, offering money for four years of college tuition, fees, and room and board to any student (regardless of family income) on the same terms as current student loans. The dollar amounts of the available loans would be pegged to average prices at public four-year colleges and universities, and students would have four years to work off those loans. The government would forgive students one year of college expenses for each year the student worked in public service after college. The paper then considers the types of service opportunities that would be eligible, the expected benefits of service, and the likely costs of Service Pays.

Keywords: education, college loans, student debt, stafford loans, public service, college repayment

Suggested Citation

Warren, Elizabeth and Baum, Sandy and Sitaraman, Ganesh, Service Pays: Creating Opportunities by Linking College with Public Service (January 28, 2007). Harvard Law and Policy Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 127, 2007; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1269443

Elizabeth Warren

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3101 (Phone)
617-496-6118 (Fax)

Sandy Baum

The Urban Institute ( email )

2100 M Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
United States
518-369-3774 (Phone)

Ganesh Sitaraman (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt Law School ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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