OUR MODEL

Opportunity and Equity

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a strong social-impact orientation, we’re working to create educational opportunities and address educational inequities at scale. We have the long-term vision of rebuilding America's higher education system around the needs of students, particularly the most disadvantaged.

 
 

Our Mission

We are harnessing the power of an innovative financial tool—income share agreements—to facilitate a rebuilding of America’s higher education system around opportunity and equity.

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Financial Access

Offering safe, student-focused financing that ensures equitable access to high-quality pathways

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Educational Impact

Growing high-impact orgs to address underinvestment in low-income populations

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Scale and Reach

Applying the pay-it-forward dimension of ISAs to facilitate reforms at large scale

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Policy

Promoting policy and practice that protects students and shapes the ISA market around equity

 
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I really appreciate [the funders] so much; without their help, my life wouldn’t be getting easier, better… I just want to say thank you so much for being so good to me because of the financial support. This semester, I got all As, so my GPA is 4.0.

—4th-year college student who used ISAs to clear prior balances and persist to graduation

 
 

What We Do

 We build ISA programs, end-to-end, to maximize opportunity and equity.

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Program Design

Focused on equity, access, and student protection

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Financial Modeling

Centered around institutional outcomes and student success

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Legal Framework

Built to protect students

 
 
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Origination and Servicing

To support student needs

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Impact Capital Design

To support sustainable growth and impact

 
 
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Community-based model

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Structure

We partner with one or more community-based organizations (CBOs) in a region—enabling their students to access ISA funding from BFF to meet educational costs, including living expenses.

Examples:

 
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Pathways

Together with our partners, we create a holistic pathway that combines financial and non-financial supports to give students the best chance of success.

 
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Scale: Capital for Impact orgs

Over time, we aim to build the costs of supports into the fund—creating a revenue stream and source of scale for partner CBOs. We design programs to harness impact investments and PRIs to bring this holistic pathway to every low-income student in these communities who can benefit. 

 
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Our Role

Within the community-based model, BFF designs programs that reflect to our mission and design principles. For these programs, BFF seeks philanthropic or impact ISA capital from mission-aligned investors and grant funding to cover the costs of program implementation.

 
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Program Design Principles

We build our programs with the following design principles as a foundation:

Broad access

Eligibility is built around students’ upholding their educational obligations rather than a credit score or the presence of a cosigner. Underwriting and pricing is built around institutional outcomes—helping students to get into the institutions and programs with a track record of success.

Affordability

As we work to help students we must also ensure they are not over-burdened. Working with program partners, BFF develops affordability standards to protect students.

Simplicity and transparency

Given that navigating financial aid is already an overwhelming process for most students, we strive not only to make the terms and design elements of our program accessible to students, but also to support students’ overall financial health with respect to paying for college.

Deep understanding of the student experience

Students with lower incomes have demands placed on them—such as supporting family members—that can make obtaining a college degree challenging. As we support students, we involve them in the process so they can shape these programs in a way that’s most conducive to their success.

Responsiveness

Financial aid processes are generally designed to meet the needs of rules and regulations rather than the student. Instead, we design our programs to address unique impediments that students with low incomes face, such as prior balances and the need for emergency aid.

Holistic servicing

Unlike student loans, servicing shouldn’t be just about collecting payments. We strive to support students in their financial health and progression through their career.

 
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 Our Team

We’re a motivated crew with specialties in economics, data analysis, financial aid, and human-centered design. Get to know us.

 

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Learn More