Americans are currently drowning in student debt. Debates over this issue tend to descend into arguments over whether college is "worth it." Meanwhile, debt-hobbled graduates scrounge unsuccessfully for living-wage jobs. Oregon has a better idea.

What do you get when you combine no money down with income-based repayment and a self-sustaining system? A pretty good fucking idea, by all appearances. The WSJ reports that the state of Oregon is considering enacting a plan that would allow kids to attend state schools for no money up front— in return, they would agree to pay 3% of their annual salary for the next 24 years. That means easier access to college for everyone, plus college graduates that would not come out saddled with huge debt payments. It's Social Security for college education, more or less.

And the math seems to work out: the state estimates that the program "would cost the state more than $9 billion over 24 years until enough students had graduated and were paying into the system to cover its outlays." At that point, it would become self-sustaining. They also estimate that students would pay back the cost of their educations in an average of 20 years, making their final four years of payment a profit to the college fund.

Sounds better than what we're doing now, at least. Do it, hippies.

[WSJ. Photo: Denise Mattox/ Flickr]