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Program helping San Diegans avoid crippling student loan debt

Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 21:26:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new program is helping San Diegans get back into the classroom without the fear of crippling student loans.

Offered through the San Diego Workforce Partnership and UC San Diego Extension, the program costs nothing upfront.

It's called an Income Share Agreement (ISA); tuition is covered, and students agree to pay a small proportion of their income for a set period of time after graduating.

The programs include front-end web development, Java programming, business intelligence, or digital marketing; each costs $6,500.

Adam Taylor is part of the first cohort of students. The Marine Corps veteran is still working to pay back student loans from several years ago but wanted to further his education to increase his salary.

"It seemed like a little more security in taking a chance and investing in yourself, as opposed to the school loans where they really don't care if you get a job or not," said Taylor, who's studying digital marketing.

The program is possible thanks to $2 million in grant funding, with Strada Education Network providing an initial $1.2 million. Strada granted the money to the Workforce to increase access and diversity in tech through ISAs.

The program succeeds if students succeed. Those who get a job and pay back into the program will support future students.

"The ranges are you pay nothing if you're making under $40,000, if you're making over that, you'll pay between 5 and 8 percent of your income, and then you'll never pay more than about 1.6 to 1.8 of what was initially financed for you," said Andy Hall, Chief Operating Officer of the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

To learn more or apply for a program click here.