Gift registry is no longer just for the engaged and pregnant—U of C student-founded business EduLender offers students the chance to fund their college bills online with a tuition gift registry. The website allows students to create a profile and start collecting donations from friends and family.
Last Friday, the company also launched OnePay, an online federal loan consolidation service.
In 2008, former UChicago students Sue Khim (X ’10) and Silas Hundt (X ’11) founded student loan search engine EduLender to help college students find and compare loans.
Khim saw the struggles that came with financing college education and wanted to provide students with a way to find the most affordable loans. “I had a high number of college friends who were international students that struggled to pay for school,” she said.
In addition to its founders, EduLender’s team includes several University-affiliated students—fourth-years Chris Ding, Sarah Jahnke, and Han Zhu, and recent graduate Thomas Monson (A.B. ’10).
EduLender offers information on more than 230 private student loan providers and state loan programs. The search engine compares loan options, including details like lender-specific requirements and ranges of rates.
Despite involvement from U of C students, Khim said the students who save the most using EduLender attend schools with less available financial aid. “The people who benefit most from us are professional students who are undergraduates at schools between UChicago and community colleges, where the endowments are much smaller than at UChicago—a place where a couple percentage points in your loans as an undergraduate can make a huge difference for the rest of your life,” Hundt said.
Since its launch, EduLender has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and ABC News. With the launch of OnePay and new services, the company’s traffic has tripled in the past ten weeks, Khim said.
The company plans to expand with a common application for student loans, which would identify more specifically the amount available from each type of loan, as well as continued efforts to create a more comprehensive search engine.