Financial Alternative for Clarkson University Students

Seed funding to launch the Lewis Income Share Agreements comes from the generous commitments of Clarkson alumnus Earl R. Lewis ’66 and his wife, Barbara Lewis. “This has been our dream for many years. It is a chance to start a program that, with some help, could eventually provide all students with a significant funding mechanism,” said Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. “The LISA program will make a student’s education more result based. Clarkson’s record in graduating top performers means it is the ideal University to start the program. Our hope is that it will become self-sustaining in the future.”  

For the last five years, Clarkson has offered a similar program for young entrepreneurs. Students in the Young Innovators & Entrepreneurs Program attend without payment of tuition based on a combination of merit-based aid and a purchase by Clarkson of equity in their firm at fair market value. In this program, students can access office, lab, and production space in an incubator, and faculty, alumni, and regional mentors provide added guidance. 

Clarkson University has a long track record of preparing students for successful careers, with one in five alumni rising to careers as CEOs or upper-level executives. The University’s new income share agreement program adjusts the amount of payment depending on an individual’s salary, reducing the risks traditionally associated with student loans and ensuring that graduates are not burdened with payment during times of financial hardship. Under the terms of Clarkson’s Lewis program, no payment is required for graduates making under an agreed upon salary, and the agreement terminates after a set period of time regardless of the amount that has been paid. 

The Lewis program will be powered by Vemo Education, an education fintech company that works with higher education institutions to develop, launch, and implement income-based approaches to student finance. In 2017, Vemo has powered $23 million of income share agreements at a diverse cross-section of education providers, including Purdue University.

“Income share agreements are based on the idea that the cost of college should be based on a student’s future potential, encouraging both the student and university to work toward the same goal,” said Tonio DeSorrento, Founder and CEO of Vemo Education. “With this new program, Clarkson University extends its longstanding reputation for preparing students for success, and offers families a new, lower-risk way to pay for college.”

Students who bring a strong sense of purpose to their education with career goals, intellectual curiosity to innovate with impact and ideas to add value to society are encouraged to apply for the Lewis Income Share Agreement Program by contacting: Kara Pitts, Director of New Student Financial Assistance, [email protected]315/268-3707 or