A better way to finance your Messiah education.

Messiah is proud to introduce our Income Share Agreement program: Only pay when you succeed.

Our new ISA program reduces the up-front, out-of-pocket cost of college, so that you can focus on what really matters: your education. We are committed to your future, and with an ISA, you’ll only pay when you succeed.

Through our ISAs, you can access limited up-front college funding all four years of your education. In return, you’ll make 90 monthly income-based payments. Make timely monthly payments after you leave, and you’ll never pay more than the funding amount you received. Any month you earn below the minimum income threshold ($2,916.67 gross, ≈$35,000/year gross), you’ll pay nothing. It’s that simple: Receive college funding up front, make income-based payments later.

What Is an Income Share Agreement (ISA)?

An ISA is a contract between you and your school that provides funding for your education. In exchange, you agree to share a fixed percentage of future income for a fixed period of time. Here are some of the key terms you should know before you sign an ISA:

ISA Amount

Amount funded to your account

Income Share

Percentage of your gross monthly income you will share

Maximum # of Monthly Payments

Greatest number of monthly payments you could be obligated to make

Payment Cap

Maximum amount you could be obligated to share (equal to your ISA amount)

Payment Window

Number of months before your ISA obligation automatically expires

Minimum Income Threshold

Minimum gross monthly income you must earn before monthly payments are due ($2,916.67)

Grace Period

The six months after you leave before payments start

Benefits of an ISA

ISA payments adjust according to your income, so you always know what percentage of your income you will pay.

ISAs are built to end, faster. As soon as you make the maximum monthly payments, hitthe payment cap, or reach the close of the payment window—whichever comes first—your ISA ends.

Built-in protections include an automatic ISA expiration date, a payment cap that limits total payments, and deferment options that let you enroll in grad school or take a gap year without accruing interest.

Low income? No income? No payment. ISA payments are only due when your gross monthly income exceeds $2,916.67 (≈$35,000/year gross).

"Messiah University has created income share agreement programs to support our undergraduate students and help us achieve some of our most ambitious goals—expand access, increase affordability, and prove the professional value of a Messiah University education."

David Walker
VP for Finance and Planning

Fulfilling an ISA

To fulfill an ISA, you’ll either make the maximum number of monthly payments or hit the payment cap—whichever comes first. If your payment window closes before you fulfill one of those obligations, your ISA will automatically expire, even if you’ve paid little or nothing at all.

Make the Maximum Monthly Payments

Your ISA will define a maximum number of monthly income-based payments. Once you make that number of payments, your ISA ends—even if you’ve paid less than the initial funding amount.

Hit the Payment Cap

Over the course of making monthly income-based payments, you may hit the payment cap (equal to your ISA amount). Hitting the payment cap will end your ISA*—even if you’ve made fewer than the maximum number of monthly payments.

Getting Started

Like any new finance tool, ISAs can seem complicated. In reality, they’re simple: You sign an ISA, receive education funding, and make income-based payments when you earn above the minimum income threshold or more. If you’re considering applying for an ISA, here are the first steps you can take toward career success.

01.

Evaluate all your financing options

Visit the Student Resources page to find the Financial Fitness Quiz, and consult with a trusted Financial Aid advisor about whether an ISA is right for you. If it is, ask for an invitation to apply for an ISA.

02.

Review your email invitation to apply for an ISA

You may apply online, and pending approval, sign the contract digitally. Your ISA amount will then be funded to your account on the designated disbursement date(s).

03.

Submit income and employment documentation

After your grace period ends (six months after you leave school), start making timely income-based payments every month your income exceeds the minimum income threshold or more. Continue to submit employment and income documentation once a year and any time your income changes, until your ISA ends.

Fulfilling an ISA

There are two ways to fulfill an ISA, plus a payment window that includes a built-in ISA expiration date.

Everyone’s path after graduation looks different. But no matter what, your ISA will end one of three ways. To get an idea of how your ISA experience might unfold, take a look at Maya’s example below.

01.

December 2019: Maya signs her last ISA

In her senior year, Maya carefully reads and signs her final ISA contract for $3,000. This contract brings her total funding amount to $12,000 over four years. This results in the following terms:

  • ISA Amount: $12,000
  • Income Share: 3.6%
  • Max Monthly Payments: 90
  • Payment Cap: 1x ($12,000)
  • Payment Window: 150 months
  • Min Income Threshold: $2,916.67/month (≈$35,000/year)
02.

May 2020: Maya graduates from Messiah

With the help of ISA funding, Maya graduates at the end of the school year.

03.

May 2020: Maya enters her grace period

Maya’s 6-month grace period begins the day after graduation. At this point, her ISA experience will unfold one of three ways. Maya’s employment and income could follow any number of trajectories, but no matter what, her ISA will end as soon as she reaches one of these endpoints:

  • 90 payments (maximum monthly payments)
  • $12,000 total payments (payment cap)
  • 150 months (payment window)

To see Maya’s variable payment experiences, toggle between endpoints in the table below.

Maximum Monthly Payments

ISAs define a maximum number of monthly income-based payments. Once you make that number of payments, your ISA ends—even if you’ve paid less than the initial funding amount.

04.

June 2020

Maya is hired for a job with a salary of $36,000, or $3,000/month. She submits income documentation for ISA servicing during her grace period.

05.

January 2021

Maya’s first monthly payment is due. (Monthly payment = gross monthly income x income share)

06.

February 2021–December 2026

Maya continues making monthly payments and submitting income documentation. Her income may fluctuate with raises or job changes, but her income share will remain 3.6%.

07.

June 2028

Maya makes the maximum monthly payments, effectively ending her ISA obligation.

*All figures in this illustration have been rounded to the nearest dollar. They are for illustrative purposes only and are not predictions of your unique payment experience. Actual ISA terms, earnings amounts, and payment experiences will vary.

Payment Cap

Over the course of making monthly income-based payments, you may hit the payment cap. Hitting the payment cap ends your ISA—even if you’ve made fewer than the maximum number of monthly payments.

04.

June 2020

Maya is hired for a job with a salary of $40,000, or $3,333/month. She submits income documentation for ISA servicing during her grace period.

05.

January 2021

Maya’s first monthly payment is due. (Monthly payment = gross monthly income x income share)

06.

February 2021–December 2026

Maya continues making monthly payments and submitting income documentation. Her income may fluctuate with raises or job changes, but her income share will remain 3.6%.

07.

June 2028

Maya hits the payment cap, effectively ending her ISA obligation.

*All figures in this illustration have been rounded to the nearest dollar. They are for illustrative purposes only and are not predictions of your unique payment experience. Actual ISA terms, earnings amounts, and payment experiences will vary.
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Resource Center

Check out the resources below for more insight into Messiah’s Income Share Agreement program.

Entrance Counseling

The Entrance Counseling is your ISA tour guide. Download this PDF for an on-the-go overview of the ISA info you should know.

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3 Ways to End Your ISA

Meet Maya, a student with an ISA, and explore three sample paths to ISA completion.

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Financial Fitness Quiz

Before you apply for an ISA, test your knowledge with Messiah’s Financial Fitness Quiz.

Download Now

Comparison Tool

Use the Comparison Tool to generate sample ISA payment experiences based on your predicted income. Compare these experiences to Parent PLUS and private loan repayment options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Visit Messiah’s ISA FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions like, "Can I prepay my ISA?"

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