Students say goodbye to student loans and agree to give Clarkson part of their salary later
College can be expensive, as many 20 and 30-somethings currently paying on student loans can attest. But what if there was a different way to pay, a way that didn’t leave many people with crippling debt upon graduation? A group of students is set to be one of the first at Clarkson to try out what could be an ideal alternative to student loans.
“I had Clarkson as one of my top choices,” says Reese Swedberg, a freshman at Clarkson, “however, when I got the financial aid back my family and I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend without more money.” For many families, this situation is not an uncommon one. That’s why Clarkson is trying out something new. It’s called the Lewis Income Share Agreement program, or LISA for short, and it’s helping a group of 22 Clarkson freshmen get the education of their dreams, without the worry of high interest rates later. The program allows the students to pay for their schooling through an innovative financing plan designed to reduce or eliminate private or parent plus loans in the process. Clarkson considers the LISA, “a new, interest-free way to finance your education that’s based on your own future success.” The payments for ISAs adjust according to the student’s income after graduation and if a student does not meet the minimum income threshold, they will not begin paying on their ISA until they do.
For some students, attending Clarkson was something that couldn’t happen without the extra help the ISA provides. “Clarkson was the only school that offered a way to cut down the cost of college even more after I got my financial package,” Swedberg says. Other students echo Swedberg’s sentiments. “This agreement took a lot of stress off of my mom, who put me through private (high) school,” says Marques Boyer, ’22. “My family was in the position that if I didn’t receive ISA I wouldn’t have been able to come into my freshman year as prepared as I am now,” says Emily Zeyak, ’22. Students must apply to be a part of the Lewis Income Share Agreement program. The process includes filling out paperwork and creating a short video or essay in order to be considered.
The ISA is unique in that it’s not only about students betting on their own success, it’s about Clarkson betting on it too. When students participate in this program, Clarkson strives to make them the most marketable and prepared future employees possible, by providing support from staff in the Career Center, Student Success Center and other campus offices.
As the Clarkson website states, “if you don’t make money, we don’t make money.” But for these students with big dreams and lofty aspirations, success shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. “My goal is to be the youngest partner in a firm, launch my own fund, and launch a real estate company. And to be a billionaire,” Bouyer says. As for Zeyak, her goal is to “climb the corporate ladder till I’m on top, while still loving what I do every day for a living.” Swedberg plans to “become one of those 1 out of 5 Clarkson alums who are a CEO, president, or owner of a company. I want to stay connected with the community as so many alums do, and give back all that Clarkson will give to me in the next four years.” With help from the Lewis Income Share Agreement, these students can forget about drowning in high interest rates after graduation, and focus their attention on achieving their sky-is-the-limit goals.