ISA terms & FAQs
Frequently Used Terms
Income Share Agreements (ISAs) can seem more complicated than student loans, but that’s just because they’re different – ISAs are actually very simple, when you understand the key terms and features associated with them. Here are the five important components of your Workforce Partnership ISA.
This is the fixed percentage of your monthly income that pay back, after you’ve left the program and are earning more than $40,000 annually ($3333.33/month).
This is the maximum number of months that you’ll make payments for. After you’ve made the number of monthly required payments described in your ISA contract – between 36 and 60 monthly payments, depending on your certificate program – your obligation is complete, no matter how much you ultimately paid.
Income threshold & payment pause:
You’re only obligated to make payments when you’re making more than the income threshold, which is $40,000. When you’re making less than $40,000, your payments pause. You’ll resume payments when you are earning above the minimum income threshold.
If you land a great job soon after you graduate, you might reach the payment cap, which is the maximum amount (in dollar terms) you could pay under your ISA obligation.
If your payments pause because you’re below the income threshold, you will make up those payments once you are again earning above the threshold. This can extend the period of time over which you would make your required number of payments. The payment window is the maximum length of time over which you could make payments. At the end of the payment window your obligation is over, provided your account is in good standing, regardless of how many payments you’ve made.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Income Share Agreement?
An ISA is an alternative to student loans that we believe shares risk between students and educators. This allows the Workforce Partnership to provide access to high quality training programs that help people get the skills San Diego businesses are looking for. In an ISA, we provide you with tuition funding and career services, and in exchange, you agree to pay a fixed percentage of your income for a fixed period of time. Unlike with a student loan, you only make ISA payments when you’re employed and earning more than the minimum income threshold.
What are the payment requirements?
Once you leave the program, you’ll be responsible for paying a percentage of your income for between 36 and 60 months, depending on your course of study. These payments will not be required until you’re earning $40,000 a year or more. We offer a simple, hassle-free payment process as well as servicing support should you have questions when paying your ISA.
What percentage of income would I be required to pay back?
Depending on your course of study, your income share will be between six and eight percent of your earned income.
What is the payment cap for the ISA?
The Workforce Partnership ISA payment cap is $11,700, or 1.8x the cost of the program. This means that if you graduated from UCSD Extension and got a highly paid job, you may make fewer payments that the number in your ISA contract.
How do monthly payments work?
Monthly payments are calculated by multiplying your earned monthly income and your required income share (e.g., $85,000/12 x .06%). You will receive a monthly bill for this amount, and you can make your payments online through our servicing platform.
Following completion of the program, when does the payment plan start?
After leaving the program, there is a one–month grace period before you’re required to begin making payments (assuming you’re earning over $40,000).
Can I pay off my ISA early?
You can complete your obligation at any time by paying the payment cap, minus any payments you’ve already made.
What happens if I find myself out of the workforce during my payment period?
Your payments pause if your earned income drops below the minimum income threshold of $40,000 annually (or $3,333.33 per month). Your payments will resume once you’re earning above the minimum income threshold.
Who should apply for the Workforce ISA program?
In the first year, the program is tailored to those who are interested in a career in the technology industry. In future years, we hope to offer similar, ISA-based programs for other fields of study. We also encourage all potential applicants to weigh the features and benefits of ISAs against other potential financing options available to them. UCSD Extension outlines several other potential options here.
Am I guaranteed a job at the end of the program?
The Workforce Partnership can’t guarantee you a job, but we’ll do everything we can to help you get one. We have deep connections within the local business community, an established track record of serving more than 70,000 San Diegans every year, and a dedicated team that will work with participants to help them achieve their career goals after completing their certificate.
Why Income Share Agreements?
The San Diego Workforce Partnership and UCSD Extension believe that quality higher education should be accessible and affordable for everyone, and we see Income Share Agreements as a means to make that happen. ISAs allow us to offer education, coaching, and support to those who could otherwise not afford it. Our goal is to create a sustainable program that can offer thousands of San Diegans the chance to launch a new career and secure a better future for themselves and their families.
What other options are available to pay for a UCSD Extension certificate?
UCSD Extension is not able to offer federal loans for their extension certificates. Other ways to pay for the program include personally bearing the cost or taking out a private loan.
What if I’m interested in gaining similar skills, but I do not want to sign up for an ISA?
There are many other potential technology education options for people interested in these careers. The UCSD Extension courses chosen are available to anyone, independent of this program. San Diego’s community colleges also offer classes in these subject areas that may be lower cost, or even free depending on your financial situation. As part of our application process, the Workforce Partnership will help you evaluate all of your potential educational and financial options.
For more information about enrolling at UCSD Extension without using the ISA, please visit their extension website here.
For more information and research about labor markets regarding local community colleges, visit the Centers of Excellence website here.
For more information about applying for programs at your local California Community College, please click here.