I recently had the privilege of speaking with Andrew O’Shaughnessy from EduLender. This brand new start-up company provides free resources for current students and recent graduates to help you better manage your student financial aid.
The concept looks incredible, and I am very excited to be able to share this with you!
EduLender is not paying me a dime. I really think the concept for this site is incredible, and worth your time to check out.
Here was our conversation:
MfCP: The concept for your site is very intriguing, could you tell us a little bit about the background of your site and how it came about?
Andrew: Before the start of her senior year at the University of Chicago, Sue Khim–EduLender’s co-founder and CEO–decided that it should be easier for students to pay for college. She was struggling with $50,000 in student loan debt, and going to take on even more to finish her senior year. When she began researching her options, she discovered that it was extremely difficult to find and compare lenders. Internet search results were always dominated by the biggest banks with the biggest advertising budgets and the most expensive loans. When she turned to loan comparison websites, she found that the same banks paid to be listed first there, as well.
Determined to help students in her own situation, Sue started EduLender with her technical co-founders, Sam Solomon and Silas Hundt. Together, they created the web’s only comprehensive and unbiased search engine for private student loans. EduLender tracks rates, fees, and terms in real-time for over 600 student loans. Students can compare the true cost of these loans against each other, aided by interactive graphs and specially-calculated rates. Since completing work on the search engine, EduLender has been adding many new features to the site.
MfCP: What features does your site have?
Andrew: Users have access to EduLender’s unique search engine for private loans. EduLender lists every single lender in the market. Because we don’t take money from any of them, your results are always unbiased. EduLender also helps students understand their refinancing options with the government and manage loan repayment after graduation.
This year we will go even further and introduce a comprehensive college financing planner. The planner will help students navigate each step of paying for college, from financial aid paperwork to finding scholarships, grants, and more.
MfCP: Is there a cost to use your website?
Andrew: EduLender’s loan search engine is free to use, and the college financing planner will be free as well. We have some ideas for future monetization, but right now we’re completely focused on building a user base and keeping our engagement rates high.
MfCP: There is a lot of sensitive information being submitted through your site. How is that information protected?
Andrew: EduLender’s employees also use the EduLender site and have submitted sensitive information to it, and we treat all of our user data like it’s our own — with diligent care and a healthy dose of paranoia. We use a variety of security measures, including bank-level encryption and authentication tools, to keep personal information secure.
Data is secured at every level: server, software, and staff. Our servers are housed in a secure facility monitored around the clock by dedicated security staff, our software is developed using industry-standard security best practices, and our employees act in accordance with security policies designed to keep our users’ data safe.
MfCP: How many colleges can you collect forms for on your site?
Andrew: At first, EduLender’s planner will be limited to those schools participating in our beta testing.
MfCP: What benefits does your site offer for students who are trying to find money to go to college?
Andrew: EduLender helps students and their families make informed decisions about paying for college. By helping users compare lenders and shop around for the best rate, we help them save up to 5.5% on their loans. When you consider that student loans cost tens of thousands of dollars, that’s a lot of green. Our new features will continue to empower students and parents to pay for college affordably.
MfCP: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about EduLender?
Andrew: I think we’ve covered most of the bases. Founded by students who know that it’s not easy to pay for college, EduLender simplifies financial aid and student loans.
There you have it. The beta testing for EduLender opens in October, but you can already use their free search features.
This type of unbiased advice will help you make the informed decisions regarding your money for college that can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
If you would like to take a look around and see a tour of the features for yourself, you can click on their logo below.