Program Overview

WHY IS THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH PILOTING AN ISA PROGRAM?


In Utah, one in four people who start college never graduate. Through Invest in U, the University of Utah is investing in our students’ success, recognizing that many students start and stop their educations based on finances, prolonging the time it takes to graduate and delaying earning potential. While the U has advanced retention and completion rates over the past five years, we have more work to do.

Invest in U is a pilot program that offers income share agreements (ISAs) as an innovative, flexible way for students to finance their educations. The ISA program is designed to fill funding gaps and enable students to enroll full time to finish their degrees faster so they can begin earning sooner. In April 2020, the University of Utah opened the program to juniors and seniors in all majors in light of global economic events.

The U’s Invest in U ISA program is funded by $6 million in donor, investor and university money. It is strategically designed to increase retention and degree completion. Students may receive $3,000 to $10,000 in ISA awards. Students’ ISA payments go back into the Invest in U fund to perpetuate the success of future students.

A STUDENT JOURNEY WITH AN INCOME SHARE AGREEMENT

 

OLIVIA’S ISA TERMS
$5,000 ISA to complete college degree
1.98% Income Share
91 Monthly Required Payments
2x ($10,000) Payment Cap

ACCEPTS ISA

Olivia, a senior Economics major, signs a $5,000 ISA contract for her last year.

March 2020
Accepts ISA

GRADUATES

Olivia graduates and has interviews lined up. She does not need to start making payments for 6 months, when her grace period ends (December 2021).

May 2021
Graduates

BEGINS WORKING

Olivia starts her job as a financial analyst with a salary of $45,000.

July 2021
Begins Working

PAYMENTS BEGIN

Olivia’s grace period ends and she begins making payments of 1.98% of her monthly income.

Monthly income:
$45,000/12 = $3,750
Monthly ISA payment =
1.98% x $3,750 = $74.

January 2022
Payments Begin

INCOME CHANGES

Olivia’s income may fluctuate with raises or job changes. Her monthly payments adjust with her income because her payments are always calculated as 1.98% of her earned monthly income.

Payment Term
Income Changes

PAYMENTS COMPLETE

In 2025, Olivia will make her 91st and final payment. This ends her ISA obligation.

September 2027
Payments Complete

Why do ISAs make sense for Utah students?


  • Flexible funding option based on your income and circumstances
  • Fills in your funding gaps after grants and scholarships
  • ISAs do not accrue interest and have no principal balance
  • Potentially less expensive than other student loans
  • Students make payments back to the Invest in U fund to help future students
  • The U is investing in student success
  • One in four Utah adults started college but did not graduate

Why accelerate time to graduation?


The numbers are clear: The sooner you graduate and begin your career, the more money you will make over your lifetime. However, too often students stop and start their educations or reduce their credit hours, due to financial constraints, delaying their graduation. The Invest in U program seeks to accelerate time to graduation by providing an additional financial aid option to help more students cross the finish line.

The longer you take to graduate, the more you pay for college.


Tuition isn’t the only factor to consider when you think about what it costs to get a college degree. This graph illustrates the costs of extending your time to graduation, both in terms of added college expenses and lost earnings.

For example, students who take seven years to graduate accumulate approximately $50,000 more in college expenses and miss out on $60,000 in earnings, for a total loss of over $100,000. Ultimately, people with some college but no degree, which would advance their earning potential, are at a disadvantage over their lifetimes.

Lost Earnings Graph

Still have more questions?

Explore the site to learn more about ISAs.

FAQ page  comparison tool

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