Income Sharing Agreements

Janny Wang - 2B Nanotechnology
Posted on: June 26, 2019

Presently, the trendiest source
of heart wrenching despair for
Millennials is student loans, with
good reason. The debt hangs like
a Damocles’ sword over the heads
o f millennials , who stave off
destruction only by wrenching the
sacrificial dagger into the heart of
mainstay industries, from brunch to
supermarkets, and presenting the
fallen corpses to their debtors as
a blood offering.

The prescribed cures are manifold;
forgive debt, smoke out the fat
of university administration, or
encourage students to become plumbers. In Ontario, Ford’s
tuition cuts caused relatively little
excitement, while his OSAP cuts
prompted much wailing and gnashing
of teeth. Down south, Sanders’ plan
to forgive nearly $1.6 trillion in
student debt has been met with a
mix of elation and skepticism.
Into this arena steps the income
sharing agreement or ISA. Thus far
the domain of backalley coding camps
and private colleges, it is slowly
inching its way into the American
mainstream.

The premise behind ISAs is simple;
the university gets a slice of however
much money you are destined to
make after graduation. If you bum
out and retreat to the recesses of
your parent’s basement, then the
university goes home empty handed.
If, on the other hand, Fortune graces
you with sunny California beaches
and mountains of green, then the
university is allowed to help itself
to an ample slice of the pie.

ISAs functionally provides a safety
net for students who are uncertain
about their prospects after graduation,
neatly sidestepping the nightmare
scenario of trying to pay off several
thousand dollars in debt on a barista’s
salary while returning cap in hand
to your parents every night.
ISAs could also assuage another
popular cause for hair-tearing
hysterics- the mythical underwater
basket degree, which allegedly
proliferates among the dissipated
youth of our degenerate times. So
much ink has been spilled over the
relative employability of various
degrees that a few peculiarly blessed
ones have now ascended to memetic
status.

ISAs soothe this anxiety by
incentivising universities to focus
on programs which are liable to land
the students a job after graduation.
Under an ISA model, there is no
incentive for universities to innovate
newer and nicher degrees with
abysmal job prospects, since they
stand to hemorrhage money from
such a scenario.

Presently, social media is presently
replete with high schoolers lamenting
their educational prospects after
Doug Ford’s recent innovations. ISAs
resolve this problem neatly enough,
since they require no cash-on-hand;
everybody liable to improve from
a postsecondary education would
be able to get one.

As with most innovations, ISAs are
subject to abjectly skimpy regulation,
which is particularly alarming given
their target audience; fresh faced
frosh mostly incapable of adding
two and two, and consequently
peculiarly prone to mucking their
way into situations which have been
compared to “indentured servitude”.
In particular, a student could end
up paying far more with an ISA
than they would with traditional
student loans, especially if they
enter immediately into a high paying
job after graduation. For students
in high demand fields, ISAs could
be “paying for a safety net they
don’t need”.

Graduate school and continuing
education also represent a gray area
for ISAs. If a student continues their
education after receiving a bachelors,
then it becomes very difficult to
quantify how much of their salary
upon graduation is owing to what and still more if a student dawdles
about the educational system, jumping
from major to major and college to
college, as some are wont to do.
Nonetheless, ISAs could be a
valuable tool in making education
more accessible and improving quality
of education. Now that universities
and colleges in Ontario are tragically
bereft of a fresh supply of cash for
the new year, it will be interesting
to see what measures they take to
fuel the six figure salaries of their
administration.

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