(USA) If you’re looking for cash for school, then you may not have to look any further than your fellow alumni. Meet SoFi, a social lending service that lets alumni of a school help finance the education of future graduates and earn a bit of a return on their investment as well.
The way the program works is simple. Alumni invest money in their particular school’s funding, and then students apply just as they might to any other college loan. Loans are given to students for a 6.24% interest rate (5.99% if they sign up for auto-pay), alumni earn 5% back on money they’ve invested, and SoFi keeps roughly 1%. Alumni can invest with cash, or can invest funds through their IRA.
“The student loan market is broken” Dan Macklin, Co-founder and VP of Business Development at SoFi told Mashable. “Students have very little choice on where to get their loans from. Why can’t we use the social groups that are out there and lend between those groups?”
In addition to lending SoFi also creates a social network for each school where alumni can see the students they’re helping finance, as well as check out what classes those students are taking and what their ultimate career goals are. Likewise, students can learn more about who’s lending them cash, and potentially call upon those alumni for advice on things like internships or to get help on a project.