Hey Boiler, We've Got Your Back

Published April 2017; Updated January 2020

'Back a Boiler' makes a difference

A new way to afford college is working really well for more and more Purdue students. To date, about 985 Boilermakers across 150-plus majors have been backed in the ISA program called Back a Boiler – ISA Fund. They have received $18.1 million in funding from 1,650-plus contracts

Wait. What's an ISA?

It stands for Income Share Agreement. Back a Boiler lets students pay for some school expenses after they graduate by paying back a percentage of their after-graduation income for a set number of years.

Here's how it works

For example, as you finish your first, second or third year at Purdue, you use Back a Boiler to receive funding to finish your education. And because you estimate that you'll get a $40,000 salary right after you graduate, you agree to pay back 3.5 percent of your salary for several years. If you expect to earn more or less than that, your financial obligation can change to a different percentage over a different number of years. You may also apply for Pave the Way, an added opportunity for students in the Back a Boiler program.

Odds are good that it will cost you less than a typical loan

Say you're a history major, and at the end of your junior year you get a $10,000 ISA. Because you expect to earn $35,000 when you graduate, you agree to pay back 3.97 percent of your salary for nine years. At the end of nine years, you will have paid back $13,655 to fulfill your ISA agreement. In comparison, borrowing $10,000 through a traditional private loan at nine percent interest would have cost you $17,124 at the end of a typical 10-year term.

Who can apply?

Back a Boiler is open to all students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors in the upcoming academic year. The program now also makes funds available for summer academic sessions in addition to the fall and spring semesters.

How do I apply?

After you read all about it, visit https://purdue.vemo.com/ to create an account and apply, or call the Purdue Division of Financial Aid at 765-494-5050 for more information. The application period is open year-round. Always remember that your education financing plan should assess all of the options available to you based on your own financial situation.