One of the things that makes Sollers special is our “no-tuition upfront” payment option. We offer this because we do not want any student to be denied the education they seek due to financial restraints. This is why we offer an “Income Sharing Agreement” option that allows you the ability to take our courses without paying any money out of pocket. However, this type of offer often raises a lot of questions. Today, we are going to answer those questions and hopefully put your mind at ease.
What is an ISA?
As we mentioned, an ISA is a payment option that requires no money upfront or out of pocket. Instead, after you successfully complete our course and secure a job, you will agree to pay 20% of your salary for the next two years. However, at Sollers, you are only required to start paying back your tuition AFTER you have secured a job that pays a salary of $50,000 or more. It is also important to remember that if you are attending an employer backed program your odds of landing a job with that type of salary of high is considerably higher. “We are so confident in our programs and ability to place our graduates, that we will train them for free and once they secure that well-paying job, then they can pay us back” exclaimed Deepa Sukuraman, Head of Program Management at Sollers College.
Is there a limit on how much I would pay?
If you are going to enter into an ISA, you definitely need to inquire about the cap, or the max you will be required to pay back. This is different for every school but generally, it is up to 3X the cost of the program. On the surface, this may seem like a lot of extra money. However, it is important to remember, the institution took the risk in educating you for free and you also did not have to incur the debt that comes along with student loan.
Is it a loan?
“Is an income sharing agreement the same as a loan?”. This is a question our admissions team gets on a frequent basis. The answer to that question is, No, they are totally different. A loan is a fixed rate that also includes an interest rate. When you take out a loan you are obligated to begin paying back that money regardless of your current job situation. For example, let’s say you take a job and 6 months later, the company goes out of business. This is rare but it could happen. With a loan, you would be required to keep making your monthly payments. If you miss those payments, it severely hurts your credit and the amount owed just keeps adding up. With an ISA, your payments are put on hold until you find a new job, that pays over the $50,000 threshold.
Does it Affect My Credit Score?
This one will depend on your banking institution. Generally, an ISA can have a similar effect on your credit score the way paying your personal credit card would. If you make your payments in full and on time it can slightly increase your credit score. However, if you are consistently late on your payments, it can have a negative impact as well. It is important to consult with your bank before signing an ISA.
How Does The School Know How Much I Make?
If your payments are based on your salary, how does the school know what your salary is? Schools work with different companies that provide an income validation service. The way this works is you submit documentation into the system, and this confirms your current salary. The type of documentation you need to submit includes but is not limited to, pay stubs, appointment letters, and annual tax filings. The school will notify you of what service provider they use. It is worth researching them and asking your questions up front before you sign.
Am I required to take a job with a certain company?
This is an interesting question because some schools, like Sollers, offer employer-backed programs. Normally, you are not required to take a job with a specific company and are free to apply to and accept the role that is best for you. However, certain schools will use their connections to place you into positions that fit your skill set. If the school has had success in placing their students with this company, that is a key factor that should be taken into consideration.
There are certain instances where you may be required to accept a job at a certain company. This issue arises when you enter into certain types of employer-backed programs. However, this type of special circumstance should be presented at the beginning of the process. You should ask this question during the initial information session or discovery conversation.
Income sharing agreements are an ideal way to pay for your education without incurring debt or putting yourself in serious financial trouble. When a school agrees to educate you for free, you know they believe in their program and their ability to place their graduates with leading companies. Ask the important questions we outlined here before you sign anything. If you have any additional ISA questions, please e-mail our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 2007, Sollers is an institution of higher education, specializing in the Life Sciences and Information Science and Technology. We provide students with the essential knowledge and applied skills they require to meet the demands of the growing healthcare, government, financial services, and technology fields.