WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is celebrating a milestone for its Back a Boiler income share agreement program.

The program, which has been offered since the 2016-17 school year, has registered 1,200 contracts during that time.

It's an alternative way to pay for college and forgo relying on Federal Parent PLUS and private student loans.

"Making a college education accessible and affordable is a driving principle at Purdue, and it's our mission to provide students with the tools to make that possible," said Heidi Carl, Purdue's executive director of financial aid.

To mark the occasion, the university has cut the current contract obligation by half for Purdue junior Kai Mangiaracina, who holds the 1000th ISA contract.

“I’m speechless … and thankful,” said the South Lake Tahoe, California, native who is majoring in mechanical engineering technology and virtual product integration. By cutting the contract, the undergrad will save about $5,000. “Back a Boiler has helped me in so many ways and is allowing me to pursue my dreams. I’m glad I found this program and proud to be a part of it.”

In using the equity-based option, a student agrees to pay to the foundation a certain percentage of their post-graduation income. Unlike a loan, there is no principal balance or interest, so its payments adjust with the student’s income over the life of the contract.

"Back a Boiler is an option, unique to Purdue, that we can offer students who are weighing options for financing their education in a way that is both fiscally sound and personally manageable," Carl said.

While the ISA program has only been in existence at Purdue since the 2016-17 academic year, the foundation says it expects the payback period to be less than 10 years. The foundation says payments do not begin until the student is employed and earns a defined minimum annual salary above $20,000.