Though still in their infancy, income-share agreements (ISAs) already have many skeptics as well as defenders. Continued discussion and debate are needed to ensure the best outcomes, especially for students. But what exactly should we be discussing?
At Lumina Foundation, we are doing everything we can to help make affordable, high-quality postsecondary credentials available to all. ISAs could be one part of the solution, depending on what we learn from early adopters, including three promising models described in Do income-share agreements actually work to hold down college costs?
With these early ISA adopters in mind, let’s consider what conditions might allow an ISA to optimize opportunities for students—and where an ISA could potentially do more harm than good. Here are 10 questions that can help us start to shape the debate.
Answering these questions can inform both the prospects for ISAs and the broader higher education affordability debate. In fact, ISAs are connected to ongoing policy and practice discussions about return on investment (i.e., affordability plus employability), outcomes and accountability, postsecondary business models, and public-private partnerships. These connections are an essential reason to keep an eye on ISAs.
At Lumina, we believe it’s best to start small in exploring ISAs before attempting to launch them at scale. This will give all of us time to better understand the experiences and outcomes of early ISA adopters. We’ll use those lessons—alongside these 10 questions and many more—to find the best solutions for those who matter most: the students.Back to News