Alternative to a Student Loan? Income Share Agreement (ISA)

I happened to read an Income Share Agreement (ISA) article in Wall Street Journal published in Sept. 11, 2017. I never heard of an ISA until I read the article. I was curious. “What is an ISA?” “Is an ISA actually a student loan disguised in a fancy phrase?” The article said it was not a student loan but I was skeptical. I researched an ISA in Business Insider, Forbes, American Institute for Research, etc.

Read moreAlternative to a Student Loan? Income Share Agreement (ISA)

For-Profit Colleges, Are They Friends or Foes?

For some of you thinking to go to a for-profit school, you might want to reconsider the decision. The primary goal of for-profit school is making money. Making money is their BUSINESS. Your success is not their priority.
For-profit make money by:

  • enrolling more students,
  • charging students higher tuitions and fees,
  • paying less to instructors, and
  • receiving more government grants by increasing student enrollment.

Some For-Profit schools are so mismanaged that they have filed bankruptcy or shut down. As a result, former students at these schools are left without a degree or certificate. These students have a trouble receiving a transcript from closed for-profit school in order to transfer class credits to other schools. Some may be left with huge amount of student loan in the middle of semester with no money back.

Here are some numbers:
The comparison data below is taken from “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success” prepared by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions United States Senate, in July 30, 2012.”


It is obvious that you pay more to for-profit schools for the same degree. Why do you want to pay more for getting the same thing? You might say, “I have a full time work and need to support my family. I can’t go to school during a day.” It is true that For-Profit schools serve more “non-traditional students” who are working adult students requiring flexible schedules.
I want you to investigate community college. Many community colleges offer great benefits such as:

  1. many classes are available in the evening or on-line,
  2. many courses are transferrable to 4-year college,
  3. technical classes, for example, dental hygienist or auto mechanic, useful for landing on a job quickly,
  4. Instructors at community college tend to have more real-world working experiences – great for job searching help.
  5. affordable and flexible – some States such as Tennessee and Oregon offer free community college courses for their State residents.
  6. smaller classes – easier to make friends and ask questions and get help. 

For-profit might make things look easy and sounds wonderful when they are recruiting new students. But, wait. Do Your Homework! Find which community college has a program interest you.



Guide to New College Freshman 101

I knew almost no one at college when I entered my foot at the University of Washington in Seattle. On the huge campus, my eyes were locked on a campus map. I was navigating myself like a lost tourist in a big city. Find a right building and classroom by swimming through nearly 20,000 students with backpacks was a daunting task. As soon as I got a classroom, oh no! It did not look like a classroom. It was more like a coliseum! Some classes had massive number of students, something like over 200 people. It was overwhelming. I realized that I became invisible – just a number in college.

In a class, it seemed impossible to even ask questions in the classroom. So many thoughts started popping up in my head. “I need a help but who can help me?” “What did a professor just say?” “Do I need to read 3, three! chapters by this Friday?” There is homework due next week, already? Really?” It was too much, too fast. I thought I was only one who were not keeping up. There were no reliable and trustworthy friends I knew. New school, new routine, new place, everything was new in refreshing and puzzling way. Everyone in my class appeared smart but me. “Can I survive in this environment?”

If you ever feel jittery on the first day of college, don’t worry. I survived and thrived. Everyone can do it if you follow steps below.

  1. You are not alone. Almost everyone feels the same way as you are. They are not all figured out yet. Breath.  
  2. After a week or two, you will know who you can depend on in a class. You just need to be open and start talking to other students.
  3. If your professor is not helpful to you, go to Teaching Assistant (TA). If that fails, then find a smart person in your class. You will know who the person is after a couple of weeks observing in the class.
  4. If your school has tutoring service, use it.
  5. Some colleges have psychologist available for you. Use the service if you need a safe place to talk about your problems and struggles.
  6. Join a student club or participate in sports, music, or something you love to do with like-minded students.
  7. Study and have fun. You need to do both. Go for a walk or have fun at student events on campus.
  8. Work part-time and make friends.
  9. Call your parents or childhood friends. And go home and see your parents once in a while.

After one quarter/semester of school, you will learn the rhythm of college life and you can make it!