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U ends Income Share Agreement program

The University of Utah has discontinued its Income Share Agreement program (ISA).

New agreements under the program were paused in the fall of 2021 as the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid reviewed new guidance on ISAs issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

Income sharing agreements were developed at the end of the last decade as an alternative to traditional student loans. Under the terms of such agreements, students’ college costs could be covered by the institution with the understanding that those amounts would be paid back once students graduated and started their careers. ISAs required students to pay a fixed percentage of their income to pay off the amount received. Those payments would be reinvested in future students’ education agreements.

The U first started offering the unique college financing contracts in the fall of 2019. Over the next two years, the university issued 141 contracts to 121 students. Students received between $3,000 and $10,000 to fill funding gaps remaining after other grants and scholarships were factored in.

“It hasn’t been a popular option at the U,” said Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management. “Given that, and changes to how ISAs are structured, we decided it was time to close our program.”

A year ago, the federal government clarified that ISAs are considered private education loans, governed by disclosure requirements and other consumer protections.

The university plans to cancel the outstanding ISA balances of students currently under contract, said Cathy Anderson, chief financial officer.

During the pause, students were referred to other student aid options available at

The ISA webpage has been taken down. Students with questions about financial aid options at the University of Utah can contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at