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Rep. Haahr Files Bill That Would Introduce New Payback Option for Student Loans

Elijah Haahr / Photo Credit: Office of the House of Representatives

State Representative Elijah Haahr of Springfield filed new legislation Wednesday in Jefferson City that would give students a new option when it comes to paying off student loans. KSMU’s Shannon Bowers spoke with Representative Haahr about this out-of-the box idea, which he hopes will allow more students to attend college in Missouri.

The bill would introduce  the “Show-Me Future Program.” allowing Missouri students attend an in-state public university or community college without paying tuition up-front.

Students would sign a binding contract in which they'd agree to pay something back into the program after graduation.  But instead of paying back a student loan with interest, they'd pay a percentage of their annual adjusted gross income for a set number of years.

This idea is based on a program that was passed unanimously by the Oregon House and Senate last year for that state. Elijah Haahr represents part of Springfield.

“If Missouri wants to be cutting edge and have a shot at attracting the best students and helping Missouri students be the best that they can be and attracting those jobs of an educated workforce, this is a kind of out of the box idea that we could use to try and move forward with education,” said Haahr.

If the bill passed, Missouri education officials would work to see whether the “Show-Me Future” pilot program would work here. Haahr hopes that a concrete plan could be implemented by January of next year.

For KSMU News, I'm Shannon Bowers.