Income Share Agreements (ISAs) have emerged in the past few years as an innovative outcomes-based tuition model that is not only increasing access and degree completion at institutions, but changing the very nature of financing higher education.
To help sort through the volume of articles, studies, and stories, we’ve compiled this research guide to ISAs featuring some of the most relevant and well-considered information currently circulating.
Take a closer look through the various resources and categories below—and be sure to check back for updates as new information and articles become available.
Institutions across the country are offering ISAs to reduce financial barriers to education, align incentives between schools and students, and increase college affordability. Start here to learn more about the fundamental nature of Income Share Agreements and their individual components.
- “A Basic Glossary to Income Share Agreements, a New Approach to Student Finance.” Pamela Horne and Tonio DeSorrento. EdSurge. May 28, 2017.
- Like so many new and innovative tools, ISAs can often be poorly misunderstood. This brief glossary helps define the many terms associated with Income Share Agreements and explains how these components can create pathways to increased student access, retention, and degree completion.
- “The Opportunities and Challenges of Income Share Agreements.” Ethan Pollack and Shayna Solomon. The Aspen Institute. August 28, 2017.
- This article from the Aspen Institute provides a wide-ranging overview of the history of ISAs, how they work, and how they can ultimately create an outcomes-based tuition model that signals value and increases access to higher education institutions.
ISA & Higher Education
Learn how Income Share Agreements can specifically help students and institutions across the higher education ecosystem—from increasing access to boosting completion rates and more.
- “So You Want to Offer an Income Share Agreement? Here’s How 5 Colleges Are Doing It.” EdSurge. February 15, 2019.
- Get a quick overview of how schools like the University of Utah and Purdue University are using ISAs to increase student success.
- “Innovating Financial Aid for Student Success with Income Share Agreements.” Vemo Education. March 11, 2019.
- Creating value-based tuition models seems like a daunting task. But as Co-founder and Vice President of Vemo Education, Bill Brosseau, explains in this in-depth interview with George Mason University, recent developments in ISAs are offering powerful new options to colleges and universities to help students enroll in school, make academic progress, and graduate with a degree.
- “A New Way to Pay for College.” Money Planet. NPR. March 29, 2019.
- Follow the evolution of Income Share Agreements from the perspective of a student involved in Purdue University’s Back a Boiler program in this podcast from NPR.
ISA & Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
ISAs have become a way for institutions focused on lifelong learning and technical training to signal value and create a pay-as-you succeed model of tuition. Read about the latest developments in this diverse arena and how ISAs are helping these institutions in their missions.
- “ISAs & Deferred Tuition at Bootcamps,” Imogen Crispe, Course Report. February 5, 2019.
- ISAs are becoming more widely available for technology training programs and give students access to life-changing learning opportunities. This guide sorts through the details and compiles a list of coding and data science programs that offer ISAs.
- “The Time to Begin Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Is Now.” Governing. May 29, 2018.
- Budgeting in good economic times can actually be much more difficult than in bad times. Read how State leaders must experiment with new funding models for higher education, such as ISAs, to help ensure and sustain a higher economic-growth path.
- “Untapped Potential: Funding Future Careers through Income Share Agreements.” General Assembly. October 19, 2018.
- Find out how General Assembly’s ISA program, Catalyst, works and why it is successful at helping students meet their career goals while aligning education cost with value and linking institutional success with student outcomes.
ISA Academic Research
Studies and reports about various aspects of Income Share Agreements are being published with increasing frequency. Read some of these findings here and the implications behind the research data.
- Framing and Labeling Effects in Preferences for Borrowing for College: An Experimental Analysis. Angela Boatman, Brent J. Evans, Adela Soliz. June 2018.
- Between 20-40% of high school seniors exhibit some form of loan aversion. This study demonstrates how student preference for institutional-based ISAs is growing and how ISAs can provide the financial support students need while mitigating loan aversion.
- “Student Selection into an Income Share Agreement.” Kevin J. Mumford, Purdue University. September 2018.
- Adverse selection has historically been a concern for institutions considering an ISA program of their own. Learn how Purdue University’s Back a Boiler ISA program debunks the myth of adverse selection.
ISA and Policy
As more institutions launch ISA programs to increase educational access and degree completion, policymakers are starting to pay attention to how ISAs are helping to achieve these goals. Stay up to date on some of these shifts in the ISA landscape and how public policy around ISAs continues to evolve.
- Innovating Out of Student Debt. Anne Kim. Progressive Policy Institute. May 2018.
- With student debt ballooning, policymakers are seeking a new paradigm on how higher education is financed. Find out how ISAs are leading the way with a tuition model that links institutional success with student outcomes while aligning education cost with value.
- “Higher education needs a new approach to finance.” Mark Volk, The Hill. August 31, 2018.
- This article by Mark Volk, president of Lackawanna College, lays out his reasoning on why ISAs are fundamental for increasing college-going aspiration and opening a new, more affordable path to a college degree.
- “Making Sense of Income Share Agreements.” Alison Griffin, Forbes, April 3, 2019.
- As ISAs gain popularity as a way to finance postsecondary education and workforce training, they are also gaining bipartisan political support. Learn how policymakers can make the best practices of schools already offering ISAs the norm going forward.