Purdue University, a flagship public research institution located in West Lafayette, Indiana, offers education at its highest proven value serving more than 40,000 students. Committed to affordability and delivering value for students, the university has frozen tuition at 2012-13 levels and prides itself on their employment outcomes for graduates.

In search of a student-friendly income-based financing option to help increase college affordability and align itself with student success, in 2016 Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation partnered with Vemo Education to design, implement and maintain the Back a Boiler Income Share Agreement (ISA) Fund. Designed as an alternative to burdensome private loans, the Back a Boiler program aims to give students more flexibility and freedom to fund their education. After a successful launch, Purdue has decided to expand Back a Boiler to help knock down financial barriers to educational access and opportunity for even more students.

Program Design Overview

  • Since its launch, Back a Boiler has provided close to $10 million in funding to support nearly 1,000 students
  • All Purdue University colleges and over 100 majors are represented in the program

  • The top colleges represented are Liberal Arts, Health and Human Sciences, Engineering, Polytechnic Institute, Agriculture, and Krannert School of Management
  • Back a Boiler payment terms range from 1.7% to 5.4% of income for 7-10 years

Important Student Protections


A minimum income threshold so that graduates in financial hardship don’t have to make payments


A fixed percentage of income of a graduate’s salary, so payments should always be affordable


A payment term will define a required number of payments (payment term). The student's obligation ends after fulfilling the number of monthly payments required under the payment term.


A payment cap to ensure a reasonable maximum payment amount

Purdue University became the first major higher education institution to offer an income share agreement program when Purdue Research Foundation launched Back a Boiler. Vemo Education is a valuable partner with PRF when it comes to the design, implementation, and servicing of Back a Boiler.

Brian Edelman President of Purdue Research Foundation

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