When it comes to researching the topic of suicide and student loan debt, I find it difficult at times to keep a safe distance from the subjects and their struggles. Only a callous and soulless individual would have the ability to remain unmoved by such stories, and I am no such person.
When I first threw out the question about suicide on August 17, 2010 - 'Who's Thought About it? - I was quite overwhelmed by the responses. While my work on debt and suicide continues, I want to turn to something more hopeful for a moment. As most of you are aware, I am now the managing editor for a company called EduLender. (I'm presently writing this blog from a hotel in downtown Chicago, and finished three days of work at the office. I will be heading back to Dallas on Sunday, after I am on a panel at Valparaiso University to discuss the student lending crisis with law students in the region. Stay tuned for details on how that goes).
As for EduLender, the company is unique in that it provides an unbiased search engine that helps borrowers identify and compare loan options from 230+ lenders.
Because of my research and writing on AEM, and The Huffington Post, and The New England Journal of Higher Education, etc., etc., I will be hard at work, providing readers with up-to-date analysis on student loan issues on EduTrends.
There's another feature of EduLender, however, that I find absolutely thrilling. That feature is called the tuition gift registry. The name immediately tells you how it works, i.e., pretty much like a gift registry for when you're getting married. Talk about a clever idea!
So, let's say you have a loved one who likes to send you gifts or money for your birthday or on other special days. Instead of doing that, said-awesome-giving-relative-or-friend can help invest in your education. For instance, let's say you have one of those grandmothers who likes to send you money slipped in a birthday card (I had a G-Ma who did that, and I miss her sweet notes and generous cash). You can ask her to contribute to the registry and something that is far more worthwhile: your education. That way grandma can help you finance your degree(s), and you won't waste the money she sent on something useless that will probably end up in the garbage anyway.
As soon as I start talking about this concept, my tone and mood changes.
Of course, I remain focused on insisting that we are experiencing a major crisis, and once we hit that . . . er . . . magic number of $1 trillion in June of 2012, I won't be feeling particularly festive (quite the opposite in fact). So it's nice to see smart ideas coming out of such a mess, and in direct response to it. Not only is this tuition gift registry a smart idea, it is a concrete solution that helps students pay off their student loan debt.
I do grow quite tired of discussing the crisis . . .
We need solutions, and that is why EduLender's tuition gift registry makes me more than just a little bit happy.