Income Share Agreements

Beyond freezing tuition and lowering the cost of textbooks and room and board, we continue to look for every way we can to send our graduates into the world with lower debt obligations. Purdue is leading the way in offering income share agreements (ISAs) as an alternative to traditional student loans through the Back a Boiler program, which allows students to “work their way through school once they’re out of school.”

Major Milestones

  • Purdue becomes the first major U.S. research university to offer income share agreements to its incoming junior- and senior-level students through innovative Income Share Agreement initiative. Known as Back a Boiler, the program offers an alternative to pay for college without accruing debt.
  • Back a Boiler expands to include incoming sophomore students and adds summer classes in its second year.
  • The program adds professional degrees in PharmD and the DVM Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine in its fourth year.


  • Purdue is leading a national conversation on alternative higher education funding options for some students, including the idea of income share agreements. President Daniels has testified before Congress on this topic twice, urging them to open the legal doors for Purdue to explore ideas such as income share agreements.
  • Nearly 1,000 Purdue students from 150 majors have utilized the program, equal to more than 10% of Purdue's private student loan volume for the student population eligible for Back a Boiler. 
  • More than $18 million from 1,650+ contracts has been disbursed to students through Back a Boiler since its inception, averaging more than $10,000 per student and payment terms ranging from seven to 10 years, including a six-month grace period following graduation. 

National news media are taking note of Purdue's leadership in offering income share agreements, including:
  • The Wall Street Journal
    • Purdue Is Number One: The school keeps tuition flat and innovates to reduce student debt.
  • The Washington Post
    • Opinion: Here is a powerful alternative to student loans
  • Fox Business
    • John Stossel: Better than student loans: Here's a real solution to the college debt crisis
  • Inside Indiana Business
    • 'Back a Boiler' Program Hits Milestone
  • EdSurge
    • So, You Want to Offer an Income-Share Agreement? Here’s How 5 Colleges are Doing it.