Markets in Everything: Direct Donor-Student Loans
NY TIMES -- Unithrive, which made its debut last month, matches alumni lenders and cash-strapped Harvard students, who post photographs and biographical information and can request up to $2,000. The loans are interest-free and payable within five years of graduation.
The nonprofit site is the brainchild of three recent Harvard graduates, who hope it can help ease the crisis in paying for college, especially if it is one day rolled out to other colleges that cannot afford to be as generous as their alma mater, which already awards scholarships to all students with demonstrated need.
The appeal of direct donor-to-student loans, Unithrive’s founders say, is that alumni will have a personal connection to current students: those requesting loans list hometowns, majors and classes they have taken. Alumni can lend to students with whom they feel a bond. They are promised updates 3 times a year from students they support - not unlike the letters that sponsors of poor children in Africa receive through the Christian Children’s Fund.