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New Jersey lawmaker wants students to gamble on loan debt

Columbia UniversityColumbia University
Columbia UniversityPhotograph by Mario Tama—Getty Images

New Jersey may one day be taking an interesting tactic in the fight against high student loan debt: a lottery system.

Yes, that’s right. One lawmaker wants students to pay for tickets that may help them end up with the price of their loans forgiven. Each ticket will reportedly cost $3.

Inside Higher Ed reported that the proposed legislation would have the funds sent directly to the institution. The student wouldn’t see that money. The move comes as the amount of loans taken out by students in the U.S. has soared in recent years, with the average around $28,000.

John Burzichelli, a Democrat assemblyman from New Jersey, likened the lottery to the Powerball one as a possible solution for money issues.

“It becomes a choice and it’s a chance,” Burzichelli said to the publication. “I hope that any kind of person in a lottery or a casino game does so within the limits of what they can afford.” The lottery would reportedly be run by an outside vendor, which would receive 25% of the lottery ticket funds.

But there are, of course, critics of the concept. “There’s ways of making sure that they’re cracking down on state disinvestment, not cutting higher education in their state like many governors are doing,” said Natalia Abrams, executive director of Student Debt Crisis, to the publication. “There’s a slew of other solutions to student loan debt. I don’t think the lottery is the right one.”