70% of four year universities will never have Income Share Agreements (ISAs) because they “know their tuition is overpriced and unconnected to the economic value of their degrees”.
ISA Investor – The Economist
ISAs, are an innovative and disruptive way to finance higher education. They provide funds to students for tuition, and are repaid once the student graduates and secures a job above a certain income. Depending on the exact structure of the ISA agreement between the educator and the student, the repayment is typically capped in terms of the total amount paid back. When structured correctly, ISAs incentivize investors to find schools, universities, and bootcamps that are providing an education with real return on investment for students. This focus on student ROI is their most salient feature.
Given their potential, I went looking for the investors that partner with schools to provide ISA financing to students. We know from The Economist that the total market size is small:
Some 3,000-5,000 American students have used ISAs to cover $40 million in tuition costs, estimates Charles Trafton of FlowPoint Education Management, which creates and invests in ISAs. For comparison, in the 2016-17 academic year, private student loans totalled $11.6 billion.
Here they are…
Top 3 ISA Investors
- FlowPoint Education Management
- $100M financing partnership with Noodle Partners and Massmutual to create and fund online university programs using ISA student financing.
- Vemo Education
- $23 million in ISAs last academic year
- Long Term Education Investment Fund (Leif)
- $20M partnership with Lambda School
- Skills Fund:
- Uncertain, but similar in scale to Vemo and partnered with Iowa Student Loan for funding.