Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
The Ultimate Guide to Income Share Agreements
Income Share Agreements or ISAS are an alternative financing option that helps students pay for college. While ISAs are synonymous with innovative education organizations like coding bootcamps, the idea is actually not new!
In fact, the concept of the Income Share Agreement dates back to the 1950s when economist Milton Friedman proposed the idea in The Role of Government in Education. The basic idea of the ISA is simple: instead of paying tuition or taking out loans, students are promising to pay back a future percentage of their salary.
Jump ahead to:
- Benefits of Income Share Agreements
- Downsides of Income Share Agreements
- Schools with Income Share Agreements
Keep on reading to learn everything that you need to know about Income Share agreements!
Benefits of income share agreements
The biggest benefit of Income Share Agreements are that students only need to pay back their ISA if they get a job and earn a certain amount of money. Unlike student loans, which must be paid back in almost all circumstances, Income Share Agreements have contingencies for employment and earnings.
Because ISAs flip the education financing model, the school has a vested interest in recouping their investment which means that they will be very motivated to help you find a good, well-paying job after college. This can put the onus on the institution or ISA-granting organization to help you connect with post-graduate employment opportunities.
If you’re interested in learning more about ISAs, check out the Fund Your Future No Essay Scholarship from Stride Funding! This is a scholarship contest to help you explore ISAs as a financing option!
For more information on Stride Funding ISAs, check out our profile of the company.
Downsides of income share agreements
The biggest downsides to Income Share Agreements is that they may not be widely available for all schools and majors. Certain ISAs will only be for specific areas of study. For instance, Avenify aims to support nursing students.
ISAs also lack some of the regulations and legal protections of federal student loans. We always recommend that students read the fine print and consult with the ISA provider if they have any specific questions as every Income Share Agreement is different.
What are some schools with income share agreements?
Both schools and private companies like Stride Funding may offer Income Share Agreements. Here are a few schools that are currently offering the ISA option for students:
The Flatiron School offers specializations in Data Science, Software Engineering, and UX/UI Design. Flatiron has campuses everywhere from London to Atlanta to Seattle. Students also have the option to complete their coursework online!
Lambda School is an online coding school that has multiple tracks so students can specialize in everything including iOS or Android Development, Data Science, Full Stack Web Development, and UX Design.
Holberton School offers project-based courses in everything from Web Development to Virtual Reality to Machine Learning. The college has campuses around the world including San Francisco, CA, New Haven, CT, Columbia, and France. Holberton School alumni have landed jobs at top companies like Tesla, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest.
Make School is unique because students who graduate will also receive their Bachelor’s Degree! Because of this, students will also receive a strong liberal arts education to complement their technical training.
Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN has an Income Share Agreement program called “Back A Boiler.” The Purdue ISA is a little bit different than others because it is not currently meant to pay 100% of the university’s cost of attendance. Instead, the Income Share Agreement is intended to replace student loans in a student’s financial aid package.
Thinkful is a boot camp that focuses on 1:1 mentorship for all students. The program matches every student with a seasoned industry professional, which is a great way to learn! Thinkful allows students to focus on software engineering, product design, data science, and data analytics.
Interested in digging deeper into income share agreements? Read about the benefits of coding bootcamps, which often offer income share agreements. You can also read about more alternative college financing options, such as tuition repayment plans.