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ASU + GSV Summit 2022 Key Takeaways

Posted on April 15, 2022 by Darius Goldman

This past week education leaders gathered in San Diego for the annual ASU GSV Summit.

The ASU + GSV Summit features a diverse lineup of thought leaders who shared firsthand stories of inspiration and innovation. This conference brought together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts eager to start the dialogue necessary for success. From K-12 to Higher Ed, it was cool to see so many people partner together to find solutions to problems. My team and I were thrilled to join everyone, learn from each other, and share the unique insights that building Meratas has given us. 

A Brief Background

The ASU GSV Summit is one of the leading educational technology conferences and started in 2010. The summit is a collaboration between ASU (Arizona State University) and GSV (Global Silicon Valley). With 12 years of conferences, the summit always connects some of the brightest minds in the EdTech space.

The summits are full of actionable insights, human-centered connections, transformational experiences, and unexpected discoveries. The attendee list grows every year and boasts an average of 15,000 attendees. With so many thought leaders in the education space in one place, there was a lot we took away from this conference.

Make Financial Aid Make Sense

Why are stories like these so common?

“I didn’t know what to expect the first time I stepped foot in a college financial aid office. I assumed it would be the easiest part of college. Who knew I would be bawling in front of a stranger, telling them about one of the most humiliating and heartbreaking experiences of my life?” – Lizzy Shoben

“My financial-aid officer didn’t understand why I worked so many jobs or why I picked up even more hours at times.” – Anthony Abraham Jack

We don’t just need to help students have a better financial experience; we need to find ways to teach the people in the financial aid offices how to better present the options students have and how to use the tools at their disposal. For example, students today are confused when they are signing up for loans. They’re tired of trying to make ends meet, and they’re tired of the stress of not knowing what exactly they’re signing up for. So we need to re-educate educators to explain financial aid in a way that clearly presents its value.


There are fewer and fewer students going to college, and when a student’s financial aid is confusing and if they aren’t options that work for their specific situation, they will drop out. There has to be better financial literacy training for students. It could be at the high school level or offered as a free college pre-requisite class or training. Either way, students need to fully understand their financial options and which is the best option. Part of the issue with alternative options to student loans is that students aren’t familiar with them, so students are confused and aren’t set up for financial success.

If students are well prepared for their financial journey, they will be better set up for success in their academic journey.  No student should have to forgo higher education because they’re confused or worried about affording their payments.

Broadening access to education and enhancing career mobility for all students is crucial so we can better prepare workers for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. 

Students Need to be Career Prepared and have Access To Additional Options

“ A national labor shortage has benefitted workers in the form of higher pay and greater agency in choosing an employer. In turn, employers —especially those with urgent shortages in essential roles— are seeking to differentiate. “They realize the difference they can offer to workers are skills, and workers don’t ask for skills. Instead, they ask for career advancement,” –  Romer Carlson explained at the Summit. 

The demand for career advancement drives a need among working adults to acquire new skills and competencies. At the same time, institutions are working to fill their seats. By meeting that demand together, employers can strengthen talent attraction and retention, articulate career mobility pathways, and address skills gaps by offering access to education through better financial options.

Romer Carlson also pointed out that this is a key area where major employers can make a huge difference. “…the striking thing that we find in our work with employers on one side and university partners on the other is that, at some level, the average CEO now has more insight into the skills we need five years from now than then a university president has access to and that’s a problem. We need to get that data available to everybody.”

Students Need More Options

Offering students more options to pay for their education at your institution is crucial to both schools’ and students’ success. The more options students are given and the better they understand these options, including which is the best option for where they are in life, the more likely they are to pursue their education of choice and have a better overall experience. 

The ASU GSV summit allowed me and my team to learn from the innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, and changemakers from around the country, and I’m thankful for that. By gathering the top minds and leading companies from across the industry, untapped potential is discovered, trends are identified, and innovators find inspiration for changing the future of their business.

 My team and I at Meratas are on a mission to unlock opportunities for those looking to upskill or start a new education. If you’re interested in helping your students do this, check out our Partner’s Page to learn more!

Posted under: News and Updates, Tuition Options

Choice is the Future of Education Financing

Posted on March 25, 2022 by Darius Goldman

Student loan debt in the United States totals $1.749 trillion as of March 1, 2022, according to educationdata.org. Unfortunately, this has several adverse effects beyond what many may realize. 


First and most obviously, this debt prevents many students from reaching their other financial goals after their education. For example, their growing student loan debt keeps them from buying a car, a house, and, in many cases, even delays or prevents retirement.  

Zippia surveyed 500 workers with student debt to better understand the impact of student loan debt on significant life milestones. Unsurprisingly, excessive traditional student debt has not only shaped some workers’ career choices but also pushed back (or halted entirely) homeownership, parenthood, and marriage. From working multiple jobs to working less than desirable jobs unrelated to their degree, many job seekers feel the pressure to pay off their mountain of student debt so they can start saving for and reaching other financial milestones. 



This overwhelming debt then leads to students losing faith in the higher education system. Why would they want to take out tens of thousands of dollars in traditional, high-interest loans only to spend years or even decades paying them off? Without confidence in a future career and with the knowledge that the debt they could take on could mount for so long, it’s no wonder that students have become more and more hesitant to pursue their educational goals.

This mentality could also even lead to a loss of faith in alternative education spaces too such as coding boot camps. With many students opting to go directly into the workforce after their K-12 education, they may lose out on the amazing opportunities that come with alternative education such as faster job placement, learning highly specialized skills, and more career support.

In order to renew their faith in the higher education world, students need better options when it comes to paying for their education—options that go beyond a traditional, high-interest-bearing loan. 

Exploring Financing Alternatives

Buy now pay later (BNPL) platforms that allow customers to make purchases in installments are growing in popularity in the United States and being used like never before. 

AWS and PYMNTS.com recently released their study on BNPL consumer spending habits. The interesting thing about this study is that it not only shows that students need a better way to pay for their education, they’re demanding it. It not only shows that students need a better way to pay, but they’re also demanding it.

Eighty-three percent of consumers who would like to use a BNPL option to make big-ticket service purchases say they see it as a practical alternative to using personal loans and credit cards for those purchases.

Younger generations are hopping on the trend to save money. Platforms like Afterpay, Klarna, and Affirm allow users to make big box purchases without having to shell out the entire cost upfront.

You may be thinking, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later works great for retail, but how would it work for education?’ Turns out it’s exactly what students are asking for. 

1 in 4 Students wants a BNPL option for their education. 


As part of this report, they surveyed consumers and asked them what services they were most interested in using BNPL for. They could answer on a scale from not interested to extremely interested. Of those polled, 1 in 4 said they are very or extremely interested in using BNPL for their education. This provides an amazing opportunity for educators because the number one barrier identified to increasing enrollment is too few student payment options. 

Unfortunately, students have limited options when it comes to paying for their education. With flexible financing like BNPL, students and schools are changing the way students and schools view funding. 

BNPL programs allow schools to increase enrollment and improve retention while also giving their students more options to pay for their education.

But will this make sense for students? 

From a familiarity perspective, it does. Twenty-nine million U.S. consumers have purchased at least one product or service using a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution over the last 12 months.  

BNPL solutions provide buyers with financial predictability and certainty that their purchases will be fully paid for at the end of their term, the ability to pay for retail purchases in installments over a fixed term. Many of these options also have a low or 0% interest rates, making them a more manageable payment option.

PYMNTS’ research also shows that consumers’ interest in using this alternative payment option expands far beyond its roots in retail. As many as 111 million U.S. consumers want to use BNPL plans for purchasing high-value products and services, including airline tickets, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and home remodeling.” 

As a result, the BNPL industry is now worth $97 billion and set to only go up from there.

Is this a better alternative?

We believe it certainly is. Meratas offers many kinds of deferred tuition products that allow students to pay for their education over time. In addition, many come with higher incentives for schools to help their students get a well-paying job before the tuition amount can be repaid.

All of our options can also be combined to create a custom tuition plan that best serves the student’s needs while also making financial sense for the school. 

Finally, our BNPL-style options carry far less or zero interest for students, meaning they’re often only paying back the tuition they borrow. This means shorter repayment times and more manageable financing for the student. 

Meratas: The All In One Tuition Solution

Buy Now Pay Later is here to stay, and for good reason.

BNPL gives consumers more options to pay for big-ticket items and helps make big purchase items such as education more manageable. The shift in perspective to using this for programs has long been inevitable, and we’re excited for the number of schools that are beginning to use this form of financing that we like to call Learn Now Pay Later.

Finding the best solution to the issue of traditional, long-term student debt can be difficult, but diversifying tuition options and giving more choices to students is the first step towards in giving them a more equitable future.

Your tuition needs are unique to you and your students. If you need the flexibility to build your financing, Meratas is your solution. Check out our Partners Page to learn more about how you can use Learn Now and Pay Later to achieve your program’s goals! 

Posted under: News and Updates, Tuition Options

How To Pay For Your Education With A Fixed Payment Plan

Posted on January 21, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

Maybe you’ve just graduated from college and are struggling to figure out what your dream job might be. Or perhaps you are already working a 9-5 job but feel unfulfilled in your current role. Changing careers can be a daunting task, but it can be done with motivation and persistence. If you’re looking for ways to pay for education to get a new career, we’re here to help. 

However, changing careers usually means more education or finding a Bootcamp to teach you the skills you need. Unfortunately, that also can mean the need to take out loans to cover the costs. But what if there was a better way to pay for the education you need to launch your new career? 

At Meratas, that’s what we do. Pair students with career-focused programs that offer the most flexible financing options. Let’s take a look at one of those options today.

The Fixed Payment Plan

The Fixed Payment Plan from Meratas gives students all the benefits of a traditional BNPL plan but spreads the payments out over a longer period of time. The student still makes fixed monthly payments but the repayment term could be a year or more. The set number of fixed payments starts after a grace period and can be designed with or

The Fixed Payment Plan for your education is like a long-term Buy Now Pay Later plan. Instead of making payments over a few weeks or four months like the Pay in 4 payment plan, this payment plan lasts several months or years. The advantage is that each individual payment is usually smaller and more manageable for you. Your payments may begin right after you finish your program or after a grace period, depending on the program you choose.

This gives you the flexibility to pay for your education over time instead of paying for everything upfront. So whatever your current situation is, you’ll still have a shot at getting the career you’ve always wanted.

If you are looking into flexible financing options, it is essential to do your research. You want to make sure that you understand the terms surrounding your financing completely. You don’t want to be surprised by a high or variable interest rate. But, many times, they may offer 0% APR depending on your program. 

Example Story

Anna wants to attend a cybersecurity program that costs $20,000. She chooses her school’s Fixed Plan through Meratas. After she graduates from her program, she begins making $600 monthly payments until her tuition has been fully paid back. Unlike with an ISA, Anna’s payments will not pause during periods of unemployment or underemployment.

Learn Now, Pay Later!

Everyone deserves a shot at the career they want. Paying for the education to get there can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. With the Meratas platform, we’ll connect you with the best courses to get you into the career you want fast and with the best payment options.


Ready to jump into your new career? Visit our student’s page and fill out our get-matched form to find the best school for you! Interested in learning about other payment plans? Check out the Pay in 4 Payment Plan!

Posted under: Tuition Options, Buy Now Pay Later

Pay For a New Career in 4 Payments

Posted on January 14, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

Of the roughly 50% of employed Americans who intend to make career changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic 33% are interested in changing industries.

It’s difficult for hard-working students and career-changers to get into the new careers they want because of the ever-increasing cost of education. 

Many times students analyze the debt they’ll have to take on to upskill or get a new career and opt to skip higher education altogether, making it harder for them to find lasting careers that help them build the life they want and the fulfillment in their careers that they need.

What if there was a better way to pay for education? What if you could use a type of payment you’re probably already using  to pay for the training to get a better career? 



1. What is Buy Now, Pay Later? 

“Raise your hand, who else has an online shopping problem?” There’s a couple of us over here at Meratas that definitely do…

If you’ve shopped anywhere online, you’ve probably heard of companies like Affirm and Klarna that let you pay for products in installments, instead of upfront.

You’ve probably seen this offer—

“Buy Now, Pay Later!” Just four installments of $19.99!

Basically Buy Now Pay later is structured so that you’ll pay an initial part of your full shopping trip and then pay the rest in 4 or so payments over a period of time. (Typically 6 weeks.) 

Buy now pay later (BNPL) platforms that allow customers to make purchases in installments are growing in popularity in the United States and being used like never before.

“43% of the U.S. adult population, some 111 million consumers, say they are interested in using BNPL solutions to pay for big-ticket service purchases. Travel, remodeling and medical expenses top the list.” According to a study by AWS on Buy Now Pay Later models. 

So what does that have to do with education or a new career? 


2. How to use BNPL to launch your career

Eighty-three percent of consumers who would like to use a BNPL option to make big-ticket service purchases say they see it as a practical alternative to using personal loans and credit cards for those purchases.


So what if there was a way to use BNPL to pay for your education? 

At Meratas, we took BNPL and created a way to use it towards launching your career!



Learn Now, Pay Later

The Pay in 4 is a Meratas tuition plan that separates tuition payments into four installments over the course of several months. Pay in 4 was created using Buy Now Pay Later models. You pay for your education in 4 installments over a period of time. (Varies depending on your program.) 


We partner with programs, bootcamps, and higher ed institutions that will allow you to use the same payment method you use to buy a computer or new watch to pay for your education and build your career!

You’re probably already using BNPL for your everyday purchases. Instead of taking out a traditional private student loan, why not use that same payment method to pay for your education and build your career?

Are you looking to start a new career and invest in yourself in 2022? Meratas can help – check out our Students Page for more info on how we can help you get the career you’ve always wanted!

Posted under: Tuition Options

How to Use Buy Now Pay Later To Build Your Career

Posted on January 3, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

Being in a career that isn’t meant for you can be draining. 76% of employees experience burnout—which researchers say include such symptoms as exhaustion, feeling negative, cynical or detached from work, and reduced work performance. Upskilling can take time and can also be expensive and for many, it can feel out of reach. But what if there was a way to quickly change careers by learning new skills? And what if you could pay for it in a manageable way that you’re probably already using?

You’ve probably seen this offer before—

“Buy Now, Pay Later!”

It often applies to retail shopping. Platforms like Afterpay, Klarna, and Affirm allow users to make big box purchases like a new computer without having to shell out the entire cost upfront. Instead, they typically let users pay in four installments over six weeks. 

Buy now pay later (BNPL) platforms that allow customers to make purchases in installments are growing in popularity in the United States and being used like never before.


Four easy payments of $19.99 is becoming the default choice when shopping.

What if there was a way to use BNPL and installments to pay for your education?

At Meratas, we took BNPL and repurposed it with student education in mind.

Learn Now, Pay Later! 

Quality education does not always have to be financed with traditional student loans that acquire more interest over time. Buy Now Pay Later options are the future of education for students!  

The Flat Payment Plan incorporates all of the flexibility and reliability that you need.


This tuition product is best suited for you if you have long-term plans designed to ensure you have the time needed to pay. 

The Flex-Plan is designed to provide students with the same benefits of a traditional Income Share Agreement!

Do Your Research

If you are looking into Income Share Agreements or other flexible financing options, it is very important to do your research. You want to make sure that you understand the terms surrounding your financing completely. You don’t want to be surprised by a high or variable interest rate. 

If you’re not happy in your current role. If you’ve been putting off a new career because of the cost of learning new skills, Meratas can help. Visit our student’s page and get matched with the perfect education program to help you get the amazing career you deserve. Check out the Meratas blog for more!


Posted under: Tuition Options

Everything You Need to Know About Private Loans

Posted on November 29, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

Attending college can be difficult for many students to afford without financial assistance. With even a semester of community college costing thousands of dollars these days, college affordability often makes a big difference in which college you’re able to choose. Thankfully, several higher education loan options are out there to help you pay your college bills, including scholarships, federal aid, private loans, and Income Share Agreements (ISA).

Private loans for college are worth considering if your federal student aid allotment isn’t enough to cover your tuition and other costs. However, some private lenders will tell you to consider taking out federal loans before weighing their products. 

This is because of the protections that the government affords its borrowers. However, those same private lenders will present their student loan options as customizable to your financial situation while positioning the federal government as one-size-fits-all.

At Meratas, we offer a host of alternative financing options to help students pay for their education. Options like installment plans, Income Share Agreements, and other Buy Now, Pay Later financing choices can oftentimes be a better fit than a traditional private student loan. Many of our options offer more flexibility than what is often available with traditional private loans.

However, if you’ve exhausted all your other financing options, you may need to turn to traditional private student loans to finish your education.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans offer variable interest rates in addition to fixed rates. So if your credit history is strong, it could also lower your interest rate, as well as if you have a cosigner with a high credit score. 

When comparing private lenders to federal loan options, ensure that you do the research for yourself and know exactly what you want. After all, not all lenders are created equal.

What are private student loans?

Unlike federal student loans, which the government designates, independent lenders issue private student loans. These can be traditional banks or credit unions or student loan-specific organizations like Sallie Mae.

Each organization has different eligibility requirements, interest rates, and repayment terms. So, it’s a great idea to compare other options before choosing one. Even though private student loans may not always be your best financial option, there are some situations where taking out a personal student loan makes sense. Let’s look at three types of private student loans for college and beyond.

 In-school loans for students and parents

The beauty of in-school student loans in the private marketplace is that there are many to choose from. Whether you’re a college freshman, a scholar seeking a doctoral, or are the parent of one — there’s something for everyone. Sallie Mae, for example, offers 13 different education loans, from paying for the private kindergarten of your toddler to financing your study for the bar exam.

But with varying loan types come more choices. Take repayment as one example: College Ave offers undergraduates four options while they’re in school:

 Refinanced loans for graduates

Private lenders offer the option of refinancing federal and private loans into one new loan. The key difference between private refinancing and federal loan consolidation could cost you more in the long run, as the repayment term could lengthen. 

However, private loan refinancing could award you a lower interest rate and could help you save on the total cost of your debt. In addition, a solid credit score and steady income may help you qualify for the lowest interest rates.

Private lenders promote their average customer’s savings by refinancing. So it’s especially crucial to proceed with caution if you’re refinancing federal loans as well and would lose their associated protections and forgiveness programs.

You should know some things before you refinance any of your student loans, such as what interest rates you’ll end up with, how much you can afford to pay each month, and if you meet all the lender’s requirements.

The repayment process for private student loans

There are a few ways to make using private loans more manageable. First, aim to put extra money toward your loan’s principal to knock it out sooner. Doing so could save you a lot of money on interest.

At the same time, pay attention to the interest rate on your loans. If it’s variable and keeps climbing, look into refinancing your student loans. Refinancing is a fancy way of saying “swapping an existing loan for another.” Qualifying for a lower interest rate by refinancing will lower your monthly payments, too.

Finally, reach out to your lender if you wind up struggling to keep up with your private student loan payments. Some will work with you if you’re having a hard time. For example, they might allow you to defer payments temporarily or lower your interest rate.

It always pays to max out your federal borrowing options and alternative financing options first before resorting to private loans. But if you need to borrow privately, aim to find loan servicers with the most favorable terms. Then be vigilant about paying them off as quickly as you can once you graduate.

The most common repayment processes include:

Immediate repayment: You will start making principal and interest payments while still in school. This could help keep down your out-of-pocket costs, but it might present additional financial pressure while you’re in school.

Interest-only repayment: You will only pay the interest while in school, which could reduce the total cost of the loan payment you’ll have to repay. Even if the monthly interest costs are minimal, you’ll have to budget this into your monthly expenses and might need to take on a part-time job to cover the payments.

Deferred repayment: You will only start paying back the loan amount once you’ve graduated or dropped below half-time enrollment. Interest could still accrue during this time, making your overall debt higher.

Refinancing your private student loans: You might get a lower interest rate if you have a solid income and excellent credit. Depending on your specific situation, this can help you spend less money over the life of your loan program. However, keep in mind that lower monthly payments might mean an extended loan term. A longer-term could cost you more, so weigh out the pros and cons of refinancing private student loans.

In general, repayment terms for private loans for graduate students can range anywhere from five years to over 20 years, but remember that the interest will add up over time.

Options to Consider Before Private Student Loans

Unlike traditional private student loans, Buy Now Pay Later options are relatively new to the financial aid scene.

There are three different types of buy now pay later options that Meratas helps schools offer to their students: Installment plan, Flat plan, Hybrid plan.

Buy Now Pay Later options are proven to increase conversions. No consigner is required for students, making your program more accessible to students.

Our Installment Plan option is a fixed payment plan for students. Tuition payments are divided equally, and they are collected over the course of a few months. 

The Flat Payment Plan incorporates all of the flexibility that your students want with the reliability that you need.

The Hybrid Plan means your students don’t have to start paying back their tuition until they’re making over the minimum income threshold and their payments are linked to their income by a percentage.

How to know if you’re eligible for private student loans

While the government considers your level of financial need when issuing financial aid, private lenders have different requirements. Factors that are considered can include your income, credit score if you have a cosigner, and debt-to-income ratio. Eligibility will vary by lender, but having a low credit score or no credit history will likely make it difficult for you to qualify. Having a cosigner can help if their credit score and income meet the eligibility requirements.

Overall, the decision to take out private student loans is one you should consider carefully. However, if you’ve already exhausted federal student loans and other alternative financing options but still need funds for school, a private student loan may be the last option for finishing school. Carefully work through your options before taking out private student loans. If you’re interested in learning more about great financial aid or alternative financing options for schools or programs, check out our student’s page!

Posted under: Tuition Options

Get Matched: Start Your Career Through Our Partner Programs

Posted on October 25, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

Does your current career feel like the wrong fit? Are you tired of feeling like you’re not making any progress in your career? Do you feel like life is standing still while you’re trying to get ahead? If you’re unhappy in your current employment, now is the time to change that.

But the job market is a harsh place. It’s difficult to upskill and learn new skills to change careers. You may be saying to yourself: I don’t have the time to learn a new skill. How am I going to pay for the training? I don’t even know where to start.

It’s hard to get a new job, and it’s even more difficult to get a job in a field you love. If you want to learn the skills required to upskill to a new career it may be difficult to know where to start.

Well, Meratas is here to help. Many people feel stuck in the wrong job or the wrong industry—and they know there’s something better out there for them, but don’t know how to get there. That’s why we are here. You can change careers! The path to a new career is closer than you think! We’re here to help you find a career you love.

If you’ve found your passion or are even just curious about where to get started, Meratas is here to actively partner you with one of our bootcamps or colleges to change your career and start something new.

We partner with programs like Sales, UX/UI Bootcamps, coding bootcamps, and colleges that are dedicated to their student’s success. If you need flexibility in paying for your education, we can help there too. All partners on the Meratas platform offer a form of incentive-aligned tuition which means not only do you have options no matter what your financial situation looks like, but you and your partner program’s goals are aligned. 


Incentive aligned tuition options give you access to things like income-linked repayment, deferment in case of career hardship, a cap on the maximum you’ll pay, and many other benefits!

We’re looking to help people bridge the gap between their current job and their dream job.  Meratas helps you find and finance your next career steps through our partnerships with colleges and bootcamps.

Are you ready to start a new career and get ahead? Let us help you kickstart your new career journey. Fill out the info on our student’s page and get started today! Check out our get matched page to get started!

Posted under: Career Guides, Tuition Options

ISA Student Benefit: Painless Deferment

Posted on June 18, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

Income Share Agreements (ISAs) are emerging as an excellent alternative to traditional private student loans. With this type of agreement, students pay nothing, in most cases, until after they complete their program. Then, once a student has finished the program and gets a job using their new skills, they pay a percentage of their income for a set period of time until they have either reached the Required Payments, Max Payment Cap, or Payment Window. 

(more…)

Posted under: Income Share Agreements, Tuition Options

How to Choose the Best Income Share Agreement

Posted on June 11, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

The rising balances of traditional private student loans are a major problem. Signing up for a traditional loan without knowing exactly how much you could be paying back or how you’ll be able to handle your monthly payments could be difficult. 

One solution that has been gaining traction among online bootcamps and colleges alike are Income Share Agreements. (ISAs). 

An ISA is an agreement where, in exchange for tuition, after graduation and as long as you’re earning an agreed-upon income, you pay a percentage of your income back to the college (or funder). Besides the absence of growing interest and generally, no upfront payments, a significant benefit of ISAs is the fact that there are certain instances when your payments are paused or deferred.  

With traditional private student loans, you have a principal, the borrowed amount, and an interest rate. You pay back the amount of the principal plus any interest you accrue while paying it back.

ISAs keep students from paying for educational experiences that don’t create value for them in the labor market, aligning the risks and rewards of education and creating better outcomes.

Are you considering signing an Income Share Agreement? Here’s what you need to look out for before you sign your agreement to make sure your payments are manageable. 

What are the ways to finish my ISA?

By far the biggest differentiating factor between ISAs and traditional student loans, other than the built-in benefits, is the way they’re satisfied. With an ISA contract, there are three distinct ways you can finish your ISA: 

1. Make the required number of payments

With an ISA, you pay back a percentage of your earnings each month for a set number of months. Each of these payments is considered one of your Required Payments. If you pay all the Required Payments, your ISA amount is satisfied! 

2. Pay the Max Payment Cap

The Max Payment Cap is built into your ISA and is the most you’ll ever need to pay towards your ISA. It is a built-in protection for high earners so that they are not punished for earning more than expected. A Payment Cap is usually some amount more than the Funded Amount (the amount the school is fronting you for their program as part of your ISA). Once your total payments reach the payment cap, your ISA is also satisfied!

3. Reaching the end of the Payment Window

The final way to end an ISA is by reaching the end of the Payment Window. The school or funder who you have an ISA with will have a set time period to collect your Required Payments or Max Payment Cap. However, if you have not reached either of those two and the Payment Window ends, you’re absolved of your ISA.  

To read a more in-depth version of how to finish your ISA payments click here!

What should I be aware of before signing an Income Share Agreement? 

1. Use the Income Share Percentage to calculate your future payments

Before you sign your Income Share Agreement you need to be aware of how much of your gross income you’ll end up paying each month. Remember this factor runs along a sliding scale with the Maximum Payment Cap and Payment Window. So, even if your ISA is only a small percentage, you’ll want to look at your Payment Window to determine for how long you’ll be paying that small percentage of your income to make sure it doesn’t add up to a huge total amount. Determine just how much you’ll be paying each month based on your anticipated salary, then compare that cost to traditional monthly student loan payments.

2. Double check your Payment Cap

This sum is the most you’ll ever pay towards your ISA. Traditional private loans cost the original balance, plus interest, which you’ll need to calculate to determine the true cost. With an ISA, there’s a much firmer, hard cap on payments, so it’s easier to determine total max costs. But make sure to know if your cap is a lot more than you were funded or just a little more. ISA caps tend to range from 1.2x to 2x more than you were funded. Be cautious with caps that are more than 2x what was funded to you, and avoid ISAs that don’t have a payment cap at all. Some programs utilize incremental payment caps, where the payment cap increases slowly over time.  This rewards students who find early career success, by making it cheaper for them to pay off their ISA earlier in their career. Make sure to calculate what your payments might look like and determine whether the payment cap is suitable for you and your future career.

3. Understand your Payment Window

The Payment Window is how long your ISA contract lasts and is the length of time you have to pay back your required payments or Payment Cap. Think of your payment window as the total contract term. At the end of the payment window, your ISA contract expires, even if you paid back less than the amount of money you received. 

To keep your ISA fair, and to prevent any potential game playing, certain situations of voluntary withdrawal from the labor force may extend your Payment Window by one month for each month of such withdrawal.  For example, if you take a 6-month vacation, your payment window may pause during these break periods, and then resume when you are ready to re-enter the labor force

The most important thing to know about your Payment Window is whether your ISA lender counts months in which your payments are paused due to financial hardships towards your Payment Window or if your Payment Window is extended in those instances.

4. Double check your Minimum Income Threshold

The main benefit of an ISA is that your payments automatically pause whenever you’re unemployed or making less than the salary floor. The best part of Income Share Agreements is that during periods of deferment, there is no accruing interest like traditional student loans. The Minimum Income Threshold is how much you have to be making before you owe payments.

If your income drops below that line your payments are paused.  An ISA’s salary floor should reflect your expected post-graduate income. Is your threshold lower like just $10,000? Or is it something reasonable for your career, say like $40,000. For example, Lambda School’s salary floor is $50,000 because it expects graduates to get starting salaries of at least that much. Think about what you’ll actually be able to afford, depending on where you plan on living, before you sign on the dotted line. 

5. Make a note of any fines and fees

Just like with traditional student loans, there are ways to get in trouble with ISAs, if you avoid making payments. There may be some penalties for not accurately reporting your income or other scenarios with your ISA. Be sure to read and understand those possible fees and make sure you avoid any of those possible scenarios. 

If you’re considering an Income Share Agreement to cover your higher education costs, then make sure to utilize an Income Share Agreement Calculator to help you figure out what your monthly payments will cost and how much you’ll pay overall. 

If you think an ISA option might be right for you, make sure you take into account your ISA terms, expected future income, and calculate what your payments will look like in order to determine if an ISA is the best option for you.

What if my school doesn’t offer an ISA?

If you’re unmoved by existing Income Share Agreement providers, you could always take on the challenge of convincing your school to start its own program. That’s where Meratas comes in.

 

About Meratas

Meratas is the leading Income Share Agreement (ISA) software company, providing a full-service, turnkey, SaaS platform to design, originate, and manage ISAs. We help universities, bootcamps, trade schools, and membership programs increase enrollment and open accessibility to their programs. All through the power of Income Share Agreements.

We also help those looking to get an education, up-skill, or re-skill get into the career of their dreams. All at, generally, no upfront cost. We pair individuals looking for fresh new career with the best educational programs on the Meratas platforms to reach their professional goals. If you’re looking to break into your new career, check out our student page and we’ll help you find the job of your dreams.

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Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content contained herein. Meratas Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials.

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Posted under: Income Share Agreements, Tuition Options

ISA Student Benefit: Income Share Percentage Discount

Posted on May 24, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

College is not only far more expensive than it was a decade ago, but the burden of paying for it has also shifted away from the public to individual students. At the same time, the odds of graduating and immediately landing a job that rewards you have become even more difficult. 

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Posted under: Tuition Options, Income Share Agreements

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