But there's a steep difference between radical and implausible. Seems Ivey, whose gubernatorial campaign has been caught up in the PACT plight, has unwisely chosen the latter.
This week, the chief overseer of the state's embattled PACT plan unveiled her latest proposal. One component of her idea is sound: Get the often-weak Alabama Legislature to ensure that the state will cover tuition to the thousands of Alabama families already enrolled in the now-closed program.
In theory, that's the proper position to take. The Legislature should support that portion of Ivey's proposal when it convenes early next year.
But the second component of her plan will likely never see the light of day. Ivey wants to move part of the PACT funds over to the state's universities — both public and private — who would use that money to guarantee tuition for students in the plan.
Thus, the state's universities — namely, Auburn and Alabama, since those schools enroll a lion's share of PACT students — would be asked to assume a sizeable portion of the financial burden for PACT enrollees.
Ivey's plan doesn't ask taxpayers to foot any additional PACT responsibilities; it also doesn't ask the state to prop up the PACT account with multiple million-dollar deposits. But it does require universities that have had their state appropriations repeatedly slashed in recent years to repair much of the damage from PACT's market-driven collapse.
It's a simple philosophy. PACT is sick, its remaining $505 million won't cover future obligations; it can't survive on its own. So shift responsibility for taking care of enrollees to someone else.
It'll be an immense shock if the universities do anything but fight this measure if it nears the Legislature floor.
Remember, one option floated months ago sought an agreement with the state's universities to freeze tuition rates for PACT students. That option never took flight; despite the criticism, Alabama and Auburn refused to postpone any future tuition increases for PACT students.
PACT needs two saviors: One would devise a palatable solution for the enrollees; another would seek financial alternatives to a reincarnated program that wouldn't become trapped in the ebb-and-flow of high-risk Wall Street investments or improper fiscal decisions by the PACT board.
The basic premise remains sound: Use a state program to help thousands of Alabama families provide college educations for their children. Alabama shouldn't abandon that philosophy because of the recession or PACT board incompetence.
Meanwhile, Ivey and her cohorts may want to return to their think tank. Thus far, they haven't come up with a solution that'll work.