January 2, 2013
Brendon McQueen, founder and CEO of Tuition.io, graduated Columbia University
facing 12 student loans. His student loan story is not unique. More than 37 million
people in the U.S. have student loans, totaling more than $1 Trillion (eclipsing
credit card debt and automotive loans).
Besides the normal issues of transitioning into an uncertain job market, Brendon
felt frustrated with the complexities of the student loan repayment process.
“As a college graduate facing loans of my own, I had a first-hand understanding of
the need for an effective, simple tool to manage loans.” – McQueen
Tuition.io, a free service dedicated to helping students manage their loan
portfolios, launched into public beta on January 2nd. In private beta, Tuition.io
has already helped borrowers from over 130 universities, including the top 25
in the nation, manage over $100 million in debt and 10,000 student loans. The
company recently closed their seed round and has partnered with a number of
organizations, including Student Veterans of America and OurTime.org.
In order to better understand the product, I decided to do my own personal
research. For the past few weeks, I have been using the service to analyze my
student loans. It is simple to select the banks that oversee your loans (federal or
private) and sign into them via Tuition.io. All of my loans are shown in the main
dashboard, displaying the trade-off between paying the entire loan now versus
years out (including interest rates and monthly payment calendars).
In addition to displaying my loans and helping me plan out repayment, Tuition.io
takes one more step and offers plans for optimization. After a quick quiz,
they offered me options for direct debt consolidation, private consolidation,
income-based repayment, and other solutions for savings and loan simplification
(displaying the pros and cons in a readable way for each option).
Given that the average American adult has 3.5 student loans totaling $26,000 of
debt, the market for this service is large. The monetization strategy involves offering refinancing options that make sense for the individual based on their unique student loan situation. Moreover, given the longevity of student loan repayment, I speculate that Tuition.io could move from loan repayment to personal finance or investment.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders help students prepare for college
throughout primary and secondary education. However, the transition out of
college can be challenging. Trying to land a job in an uncertain economic climate,
finding your true passion, and moving into a new apartment can be difficult for a
recent college graduate – at least now student loan repayment can be a bit easier
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