Frequently Asked Questions



What is Charter Impact Fund (CIF)?

CIF is a nonprofit social impact fund created to help high-performing, high-impact charter schools maximize their resources for students. Our mission is to make it easier, simpler, and less expensive for charter schools to put down roots in sustainable facilities – ultimately allowing our partner schools to spend more time and money helping students achieve academic success, and less on repaying loan costs.

How does the CIF program work?

By providing long-term, low-cost, fixed-rate loans to finance school facilities, CIF aims to transform the lending landscape. CIF partners with charter schools that have proven their ability to have a highly positive impact both on their students and on their communities and works directly with these partner schools to secure low-cost loans for school facilities. Our ability to borrow at high-grade tax-exempt rates allows us to provide access, transparency, and credit security to impact-oriented investors, and to transfer these savings to our partner schools.

When do you plan to begin making loans?

We expect to announce our first loans in the second half of 2018.

What are CIF’s eligibility criteria for schools?

We are finalizing our specific criteria. However, all of our partner schools will be non-profit charter schools that have at least three years of operating experience and have established strong academic performance track records. For our first round of funding, schools should be fully enrolled and the facility should be completed.

Broadly, we are committed to identifying and supporting a diverse cohort of schools making a dramatic impact for their students and communities, and with solid financials. We expect our partner schools to establish permanent roots and, over time, support thousands of students toward success in college, careers and life – and for that reason, our typical loans are structured much like a home mortgage: a 30-year amortizing loan with a low-cost fixed interest rate.

What kinds of projects are eligible?

Projects eligible for CIF financing include refinancing existing debt, acquisition of land or facilities, and expansion projects.

How is a loan from CIF different from commercial bank loans or CDFIs?

Our long-term, fixed-rate loans allow schools to eliminate refinancing risk and reduce or eliminate equity requirements. Our typical loans provide 30-year amortization and are not bound by loan-to-value requirements.*

How is a loan from CIF different from conventional tax-exempt bonds?

CIF loans are long-term, permanent loans with a fixed interest rate, and in this manner a CIF loan is similar to that of a conventional tax-exempt bond. However, unlike charter school bonds, CIF loans have more favorable terms for charter schools, including the potential for low-interest costs, no reserve funds, simple legal documentation, and low transaction costs. These benefits lead to lower monthly payments for the school and more money to the classroom.

Where do you operate?

CIF provides financing to not-for-profit charter schools or charter management organizations throughout the United States, where permitted by law.*

*Rates and terms are subject to change, and restrictions may apply.