Income Share Agreements
Income Share Agreements (ISAs) offer an innovative alternative to the risks and burdens of student debt, opening up new pathways of opportunity for students and creating novel incentive structures for funders and education providers. JFI partners with educators, investors, policymakers, and researchers to pilot ISA funds and catalyze the ISA ecosystem.
JFI uses pilots to build momentum and credibility for the ISA model. By piloting ISA funds with education institutions, scholarship programs, and college success organizations, JFI will demonstrate the value of ISAs to students, showcase their broad applicability in post-secondary education, and underscore their financial viability. In 2016, JFI led the construction and operation of the nation's first ISA pilot, partnering with Purdue University and Vemo Education to reach support nearly 160 students. In 2017, we'll launch four more pilots, providing ISA funding to some 1,100 students by the end of the year.
Legislation and Policy
Legislation that establishes clear consumer protections, outlines the tax treatment of ISA funding, and provides legal and regulatory guidance to investors and higher education institutions is vital to the growth of the ISA market. JFI has convened a coalition of educators, ISA providers, and think tank leaders to draft legislation that addressed these issues. It was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Todd Messer (R-IN). While continuing to energize policymakers at the federal level, JFI is also engaging regulators and state leaders to pursue further clarity for ISA providers and funders.
As a new and pathbreaking financial instrument, ISAs face a unique set of marketing and operational hurdles that JFI is working to clear. This includes advising ISA providers, crafting a compelling vocabulary for ISA products, and publishing research on novel applications of the ISA model.
Better Future Forward (BFF)
To help build a competitive and diverse ISA ecosystem, JFI incubated and spun out Better Future Forward, a non-profit social enterprise that services and originates ISAs for low-income students. In the terms it offers, its approach to servicing, and its fund structuring, BFF is meant to serve as an exemplar for ISA providers. To learn more about Better Future Forward, visit the BFF website.