The Yale Experiment

The surprising history of the idea that graduates' salaries should determine their student debt

The Yale Experiment 2

AP Photo, Henry Burroughs

James Tobin in 1967

When Yale University announced in 1999 that it was writing off the remaining debt from its 1970s experiment in student-loan reform, the Tuition Postponement Option, it seemed to mark the end of an era. The TPO, as it was called, had allowed students from 1971 to 1978 to attend Yale without paying the full costs upfront, instead collectively pledging a portion of their future incomes to the university.

Coverage of the program's end in The New York