Income share agreements have both critics and fans. We think there’s a need for strong empirical evidence with clear outcomes.
Financing the Future is excited to feature guest commentary from experts and practitioners in the field. Our goal is to elevate research and knowledge about new approaches to financing education and training, and to encourage innovative providers to center learner interests and racial, gender, and economic equity. Today we welcome Eli Bildner of Rivet School, and Ben Castleman, who served as an outside evaluator for the organization’s Pay it Forward income share agreement (ISA) program. The opinions expressed in guest blog posts are the authors’ own.
As income share agreements (ISAs), which tie students’ tuition payments to future earnings, grow in popularity, they have attracted an increasingly impassioned chorus of advocates and detractors. Critics lambast an “an idea so staggeringly bad — morally, financially, factually — that respectful treatment wouldn’t do it justice.” Evangelists hail ISAs as “the future of education,” “a way to eliminate student debt”, and enabling “the American Dream as a service.”
To us—a nonprofit leader and a professor of education—there’s a crucial ingredient missing from this debate: empirical evidence.