High school graduates have found an unexpected ally when it comes to finding the financial aid they need to go to college, even when what aid is being offered by the school is just not enough: start-ups. Here’s a list a six new start-ups that actually want to help students afford to be start-ups, and they have different methods of helping.
The following six want to help people at different stages of life!
- CollegeBacker bases its help around 529 plans, meaning that it targets new parents who want to save for their children to attend college as soon as possible. This start-up tries to make it easy for clients by opening a 529 plan on their behalf, often keeping the complex process of starting one as simple as possible. To subscribe, users have to pay a monthly fee somewhere between zero and $10. According to co-founder and COO Abby Chao, “The cost of college continues to rise, and is expected to double again in the next 10 years…Our existing solutions aren’t working.”
- Some of these start-ups like to start a little bit later than that, however. Raise.me, for example, puts high school students in the position to help themselves by rewarding them for their achievements, like a high GPA or visiting another college campus. According to co-founder and CEO Preston Silverman, in an interview with New York Times, “It allows them to set immediate goals.”
- Some of these start-ups also like to beat around the bush to help students. For example, Kaleidoscope, a company that seeks to help students with finding the private scholarship funds that they need. While the company at this time currently focuses on helping private funders, the website hopes to offer more scholarship listings. The issue of scholarships hits close to home for founder, Greg Dehn, who relied on private aid to fund college after his father was diagnosed with ALS, meaning that the family’s savings went to funding his treatments.
- For the average student interested in financial aid, they know they just can’t be a stranger to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or “FAFSA” form). However, one start-up, Frank, offers a free FAFSA tool that is meant to help students who had been confused or even scared off by the form. “No one has been incentivized to fix it, which leaves a perfect ground for technology companies to come in and shake things up,” said founder and CEO Charlie Javice, “We’re acquiring customers cheaply, which is why venture is extremely excited.”
- Even international waters can host a few helpful start-ups. Prodigy, which is based in London, is a lending solution built for hosting international students. While originally focusing on European universities, the company recently announced plans to branch out to help American students this coming year.
- If you are reading this after you graduated and wish that things like this were there when you could have used it, don’t despair, for even graduates can get a helping hand from start-ups. CommonBond, in particular, is aimed at helping students after the graduated and are having problems paying off their debts. With the keyword here being “refinancing,” this company tries to help its client keep track of their monthly payments with a user-friendly website. According to co-founder and CEO David Klein, “Traditional financial services aren’t really leveraging the technology that they could, relative to expectations of consumers.”
(H/T: Fast Company)