Q&A with Founder Stephen Dash and his team brought a world-first approach to the way borrowers and lenders interact. Visit joinStampede.com to learn more.
In 2012, the student loan crisis reached a boiling point: students across the United States had amassed more than 1 trillion dollars in debt. College students continue to invest in higher education, but at what cost? joinStampede, a movement to bring student loan borrowers together, wants to help lower that cost for thousands of students. In March of 2013, they launched a grassroots campaign on Causes.com to help facilitate lower interest rates that would help students get out of debt. We spoke to Stephen Dash, founder of joinStampede, to learn more about why he wants to help.
Why is the student loan debt crisis in American so important?
For many Americans, the decision whether to further their education after high school is a no-brainer. Historically, the opportunities afforded by university studies have helped enhance the pursuit of the American Dream. But in a difficult economy and with rising costs of education, that dream requires a rethink. The real cost of education is impacting individuals’ ability to buy a home, buy a car or start a family – and in some cases can take a significant emotional toll, with many wondering if their own cycle of debt will ever end.
How has joinStampede tried to solve that problem?
The majority of student loan borrowers are getting into trouble because their repayments are not affordable. Student loan interest rates can be very high (in some cases above 10% per annum). Individuals often find the borrowing or refinancing process daunting and difficult to navigate – especially in light of complex products and an overload of information. So we decided to unite thousands of borrowers online to then harness their collective influence and work with lenders to create a discount for our members. To us, the concept was simple – if we put these parties together, lenders would have access to new borrowers and borrowers would be rewarded with better loan terms.
What happened with the campaign?
Through our petition on Causes.com and our website, we were able to reach over 30,000 people with student debt and give them the tools to spread the word. We had interest from newspapers, online media and even featured on CBS Nightly News (Click to watch video report).
Eight weeks into the campaign and it worked. Today we announced that cuStudentLoans has developed a new private student loan refinancing program exclusively for joinStampede members. The exclusive program will be available for a limited time to people who have registered for free at www.joinStampede.com by May 31, 2013.
Why should student loan borrowers join the campaign?
Typically an origination fee is paid when a borrower consolidates their loan; it often amounts to thousands of dollars. Our exclusive program will offer a student loan consolidation product without any origination fees, which means joinStampede members are receiving a meaningful benefit. The best part? cuStudentLoans is comprised of over 160 not-for-profit credit unions, so they are able to offer interest rates that are significantly lower that traditional lenders.
Here are a few examples of the real impact of re-financing with cuStudentLoans’ program:
- Steven, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, had over $100,000 in student debt loans with up to 14.3% interest rate. By refinancing with cuStudentLoans, he’s saving almost $9,000 a year in payments.
- Marissa, a graduate of Purdue University, was able to decrease her loan term by five years and lower her initial monthly payments by almost $400 with a 4.75% consolidation loan.
How can you get involved with these savings?
We are inviting the Causes community to explore the cuStudentLoans offer by registering with www.joinStampede.com before May 31, 2013. For those who have registered with joinStampede by May 31, invitations to apply for the cuStudentLoans offer will be open from June 1, 2013 until June 15, 2013.
joinStampede’s aim moving forward is to try and extend the crowd influence approach to other big expense categories and save our members money – we can’t do it without you.