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Episode 903: A New Way To Pay For College

Lauren Neuwirth was a sophomore at Purdue University when she ran out of money to pay for college. She was considering joining the Army to get her tuition covered. But then someone at the financial aid office told her about this new thing the university was offering.

Lauren is getting tens of thousands of dollars toward her tuition not as a scholarship or a loan. There is no set amount of money she has to pay back. But for eight years after she graduates, she has to give Purdue a percentage of her income. The more she makes, the more Purdue gets. It's more like she sold stock in herself.

Today on the show, we follow the evolution of income-share agreements, from David Bowie's recording studio to a pilot program in Chile to colleges in the U.S.

Music: "Sunburn," David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World," and "ABC."

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Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and co-host of the Planet Money podcast. He is the author of the book Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.
Kenny Malone is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for WNYC's Only Human podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for Miami's WLRN. And before that, he was a reporter for his friend T.C.'s homemade newspaper, Neighborhood News.