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The University of Utah today announced the creation of an experimental program to offer some students the option of an income-share agreement. So-called ISAs, which tap portions of postgraduate income to reduce college tuition fees, have generated support from policy makers and others as a promising way to help pay for college. Critics, however, call the agreements new forms of potentially problematic private loans.

Utah appears to be the second large public university to offer an ISA, having followed Purdue University's lead. A small but growing number of private colleges also offer the agreements.

The new program at Utah, dubbed Invest in U, is open to students in 18 selected majors who are within one year of graduating, the university said. Eligible students may receive up to $10,000 each semester (fall, spring and summer) under the agreement. In exchange, students will pay 2.85 percent of their annual income after graduation for three to 10 years, depending on their major and the amount they received. Payments may be paused for students pursuing graduate degrees or who are volunteering or working but earning less than $20,000 a year.