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Young, Polis Introduce University-Backed Bill That Provides Students Greater Opportunity To Achieve A Degree

 

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Investing in Student Access (ISA) Act. Young and Polis worked with former Indiana Governor and current Purdue President Mitch Daniels to develop the bipartisan legislation that provides much-needed legal certainty to an innovative higher education financing tool called an Income Share Agreement (ISA). ?

“The class of 2015 will graduate with the most loan debt in United States’ history,” said Congressman Young. “Many fear that student loan debt will be the next bubble to burst yet not enough is being done to address the affordability problem. This bill is the culmination of a years-long effort working with universities like Purdue, on a real market-driven solution that’s not only good for students, but good for American taxpayers whose tax dollars aren’t involved and at risk.”  

“A college degree is one of the best investments a student can make,” Congressman Polis said. “Unfortunately, many students are burdened with record levels of debt because of it, often forcing them to delay other important investments in their future, like saving for retirement or purchasing a home. Income share agreements are an innovative, alternative way to finance an education. Our bill provides the necessary legal certainty for students to take advantage of this option, while at the same time giving students the consumer protections they deserve.”

“This bill would open the door to a new, more student-friendly option to finance a college education,” Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said. “Purdue, with a long record of highly employable graduates, is a natural fit for Income Share Agreements and we would move quickly to add this new choice to our financial aid menu."


The Experts on ISAs:

According to Andrew P. Kelly, Director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Center on Higher Education Reform, the ISA process “gives students strong signals about which programs and fields are most likely to help them be successful. It would also help stem tuition inflation and improve the efficiency of the higher education system by rewarding high-quality, low-cost programs.”

Brookings Institution expert in higher education economics, Beth Akers, writes that ISAs deserve attention because they “offer improvements over traditional loans in terms of shielding students from risk and providing information about quality, two widely held objectives among advocates and policy makers.”

New America senior research and program manager, Betsy Prueter,discusses the benefits ISAs can provide over the Federal Student loan repayment programs: Overall, ISAs may be a better option than Income Based Repayment (IBR) as IBR… does not take into account a student’s future income prospects. Additionally, ISAs may encourage institutions to price programs based on labor market return (i.e., disciplines that tend to lead students into lower paying occupations may reduce tuition accordingly).

Background Items:

Under an ISA, a student receives private funds in exchange for agreeing to pay an affordable percentage of his or her income for a set period of time after school. And, unlike a loan, an ISA has no principal or interest; instead, an ISA bases a student’s payments on income, and funders only recoup their money when students are successful.

The Investing in Student Access Act of 2015 creates a legal framework for ISAs used to pay for postsecondary education. It doesn’t spend any money or remove existing aid options.