NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Better Future Forward (BFF) announced a new multi-state social impact ISA fund aimed at increasing college access and affordability for low-income students. The fund will provide broadly-accessible, low-risk financing through income share agreements (ISAs).
The ISA fund is a collaboration between Better Future Forward, a non-profit ISA provider, College Possible, a leading college access and success organization, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (the Cooke Foundation), the country's premier scholarship organization for high-achieving students with financial need. With a $1.1 million program-related investment from the Cooke Foundation, Better Future Forward will provide 120 College Possible students with ISA financing for tuition, fees, books, and/or living expenses. The ISA funding is designed to supplement grant-based financial aid and federal student loans, reducing students' use of private loans, credit cards, and part-time jobs to pay for their degrees.
College Possible students in Minnesota and Wisconsin attending a range of institutions are eligible to apply for Better Future Forward's impact ISA financing for the 2018-2019 academic year. Approved schools range from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to Marquette University and St. Olaf College. The ISA's terms are based on each institution's track record of helping students graduate and transition to a career. BFF does not use students' credit scores or a cosigner to underwrite ISAs, ensuring students can access the program based on their future potential—not their family's socioeconomic status.
ISAs provide students with funding for current educational pursuits in exchange for a defined percentage of their post-graduation income, for a defined period of time. There are thresholds and caps on ISA payments, and they are always income-contingent – when a graduate struggles, the ISA obligation is negligible or nothing, and when they thrive, the ISA obligation scales with their success. After the ISA duration has ended, the graduate has no further obligation—even if they have paid back less than they originally received. Unlike loans, there is no principal to repay, interest to accrue, or fixed minimum payments required when graduates can least afford them. Importantly, by linking payments to post-graduation income, ISAs align the interests of students and the organizations helping to finance their education.
"This fund will open doors for all College Possible students who are sprinting toward their college degree but need additional financial support to ensure that they reach the finish line," said Kevin James, founder and CEO of Better Future Forward. "ISA funds succeed and grow when the participating students are thriving, which is why College Possible and the Cooke Foundation are such natural partners in this effort. We are all focused not just on providing high-quality financial aid, but on driving systems of change that decrease debt loads, increase graduation rates, and expand access to proven programs and stable jobs."
Jim McCorkell, College Possible CEO and Founder, commented, "College Possible's mission is to make a college degree possible for every student by providing coaching that helps them overcome barriers to enrolling in and completing college. But one barrier that coaching can't typically overcome is financing, which is often enough to stop a student from earning a degree. Private loans are risky when they're not altogether inaccessible to our students, and we know the alternative of working full-time while in school can have huge and unfortunate consequences as well. This ISA fund is a promising financing option tied to our students' future success, empowering us to work with each student to devise a financial aid package that gives them the best chance of completing college and thriving afterward."
"We are excited to invest in Better Future Forward's efforts to use ISAs to accelerate economic mobility and expand educational equity for students in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and nationwide," added Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. "The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of high-achieving students with financial need. We believe that Better Future Forward's approach to ISAs is a natural complement to our core scholarship programs. By making one of our first-ever program-related investments in BFF's College Possible ISA fund, we are able to improve the futures of even more students while building momentum for ISAs as a new engine of opportunity and equity in higher education."
Students can learn more about BFF and College Possible's ISA program at www.betterfutureforward.org/college-possible.
About Better Future Forward
Better Future Forward is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) to make high-quality postsecondary education pathways more accessible and affordable. By reforming how we pay for education, BFF is working to rebuild America's higher education system around the principles of broad accessibility, universal affordability, and comprehensive student success. BFF develops and operates ISA programs in partnership with Lumni, an international financial technology company focused on increasing the affordability and accessibility of higher education. BFF was incubated by the Jain Family Institute, an applied research organization devoted to accelerating the progress of transformative ideas.
About College Possible
College Possible is a nonprofit organization making college admission and success possible for low-income students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. College Possible operates in Minnesota, Milwaukee, Omaha, Portland, Philadelphia and Chicago. Learn more at www.collegepossible.org
About the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $190 million in scholarships to nearly 2,500 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided over $100 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. www.jkcf.org
Better Future Forward:
Kylie McKenna, The Levinson Group
email@example.com, (202) 244-1785
Tasha Shevlin, College Possible Minnesota
firstname.lastname@example.org, (612) 252-4375
Edie Turnbull, College Possible Wisconsin
ETurnbull@collegepossible.org, (414) 727-3420
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation:
Amber Styles, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
email@example.com, (571) 442-0772
SOURCE Better Future Forward