University of Kentucky students preparing to launch online tool - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Kentucky students preparing to launch online tool for student financial aid

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If you're looking for money to pay for college, a group of Kentucky students say their new website can help. 

It's called FinanceU and it could make student loans a thing if the past. It's a new website created to take on the nation's trillion dollar college debt problem.

For many Americans, paying for college is like a never ending story -- an uphill battle with no end in sight. But a group of University of Kentucky students believe they've found a solution.

Michael Lewis says a number of factors go into the compounding debt. 

"Lack of financial literacy, lack of financial aid and then this exponential rising cost of college," he said. 

Lewis is the brains behind this new website that helps students raise money for college.

"No longer are you writing long essays, no longer are you searching or scouring the internet for all these scholarships, because you have this one platform. This one stop shop," he said. 

Before coming to UK, he applied for several scholarships, some were tedious, tiring and had too many requirements. So he wanted to find a better way for his peers to pay for school. 

"Thinking of it as almost like a LinkedIn profile, and now you have the ability to share that; whether that's sharing it through social media or sharing your link at events like Christmas, birthdays, graduation parties, things like that," Lewis said.

He put together a team and raised 16,000 to build what is now called, financeU. 

"So this concept of crowd funding has been around for a long time, but most recently, has been exponentially growing. The concept is that if you have a large group of people give small amounts of dollars to raise money for some kind of cause or product and in this case a scholarship."

University of Kentucky students' debt ranges from about $16,000-$18,000. UK officials say finding money on the front end is essential to staying debt-free.

"Particularly students in high school, go to your counselor," UK's director of financial aid, David Prater, said. "They are a great source of information and they are knowledgeable about filling out the federal financial aid form, they can help students in applying for scholarships at different schools, the application deadline dates and the types of things they need to do. already awarded. 

"Our concept is that if we can allow students to access their networks and get funds that way, that minimizes the student loan burden. and so it's a big issue and there's a lot of things that will need to go into fixing it," Lewis said. "We think this is one that will help it."

Lewis says his team will launch FinanceU next month.

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