Purdue wins prize for ‘Back a Boiler’ program

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The Purdue University “Back a Boiler” program, the controversial income-share agreement plan launched by President Mitch Daniels, is the winner of a Boston-based conservative think tank’s annual better-government competition.

Purdue won a $10,000 prize from The Pioneer Institute, which selected the program after reviewing more than 80 entries from across the nation. The school will donate the money back to the Back a Boiler fund.

Purdue says the income-share agreement offers students and families an alternative-financing option to loans. Students receive funding for their education in exchange for paying an agreed-upon percentage of post-graduation income over a set number of years. Critics have compared the program to indentured servitude.

Since Purdue launched the program in 2016, the fund has distributed $5.9 million through almost 500 contracts. The contracts typically require a student to pay a portion of their salary for 10 years after graduation.

“Even at this early stage, this vehicle shows great promise as another way we can help our students launch their lives with less debt and greater financial security,” Daniels said in a written statement.

The Pioneer Institute says its mission is to advocate for public-policy solutions based on “free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.”•

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