KEVIN JAMES
Founder & CEO

“In founding BFF, I took a leap of faith on an idea that I believe to be highly promising but is still relatively new and untested. I don't know if it will work. But I believe that with the right team--and enough patience, creativity, and focus on social impact--we can break from the current system and dramatically expand opportunity for large groups of individuals that in the past have been left behind in our country. I am honored to be on this journey with my colleagues and hope we can make this difference for the people we serve.”

Kevin James is the founder and CEO of Better Future Forward, a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) to make high-quality postsecondary education pathways more accessible and affordable. Kevin was previously Director of Higher Education at the Jain Family Institute, which incubated Better Future Forward.

Kevin’s knowledge of and experience with ISAs is unparalleled. He has spent more than a decade studying and strengthening the student loan system - in Congress, at the American Enterprise Institute, and, now, as a social entrepreneur.

Kevin’s journey with ISAs began while he was working as a legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (ret.), at the time a senior member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. There, Kevin oversaw the development of legislation to substantially reform the federal student loan system and drafted the first-ever legislation (which Rep. Petri introduced) to create a comprehensive legal framework for ISAs. Kevin was subsequently, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focused on student loan reform, ISAs, quality assurance in higher education, and education innovation.

In ISAs, Kevin sees a promising and transformative financial aid model that, with a strong dose of creativity and perseverance, can give all students - particularly low-income students - an affordable pathway to a high-quality education program that is tied to their future success, and a remunerative job. Financing isn’t the only systemic issue facing higher education. But Kevin and Better Future Forward believe that by reimagining the way Americans pay for their education and training, we can rebuild America’s higher education infrastructure around the principles of broad accessibility, universal affordability, and comprehensive student success.

Kevin’s has written about higher education in the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, The Hill, RealClearPolicy, National Review Online, and other publications. He earned a B.S. in computer science and a B.A. in political science from Virginia Tech, and an M.A. in economics from George Mason University.

More Team Bios:

Barry Cynamon, Executive Vice President & CFO

Marcy Van Horn, Vice President, Strategic Design & User Research

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