Four Stanford alumni came up with an idea to help young university students, creating a funding system which provides online loans to finance their studies or start a small business. Loan rates are obviously low and SoFi was such an instant hit that 40 other U.S. universities -- including Harvard -- will be very soon endorsing the SoFi credit network system.
SoFi, the acronym for Social Finance, is the first platform where loans meet social networks. In the USA ,the student loan market has reached turnover of one trillion dollars. The loan, and its funding, is granted online through a dedicated social community in the style of Facebook which connects alumni and students who need money to pay for their studies.
SoFi's strongest point lies in the fact that the system is part start-up, part bank and part social community: students receive loans with the lowest fixed rates in the market, definitely lower than those granted by banks, for a 15-year period. The students will have to pay back loans upon graduation.
We don't have anything like SoFi in Italy. There is a site, SuperMoney, which, by comparing different interest rates online, gives an overview of the most profitable online loans. However, it is not a community for young students. Nothing you can compare with SoFi, which actually also offers advice and support:
We are strong because we are based on a community which enables to reduce interest rates. In the case of defaulting on their loan, a student's name and other personal information may be shared with the investor community. This way they will all try to be punctual with their repayments.
The more universities will participate, the bigger the chance for many students to pay for their studies without burdening their families. Students could even learn how to handle their finances since a very early age -- an idea we cannot fail to appreciate.