One Good Idea May Be Enough to Pay Your Student Loans


NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- College students certainly aren’t part of the “1%” that everyone’s talking about these days, and with the amount of student loan debt they carry, they won’t be getting out of the 99% anytime soon.

According to the Project on Student Debt, about 66% of college seniors graduated with student loan debt in 2010, debt that amounted to $25,250 per student, on average.

So any way to mitigate that mountain of debt and avoid all the monthly bank and government loan invoices is a good financial move. One way to do that comes from a venture capital firm called Gen Y Partners, which is on the hunt for some business-savvy student entrepreneurs.

The firm will pay chosen students’ loans for up to three years after graduation and will provide room and board on campus as well. In addition, Gen Y Partners will also spread some seed money around – between $15,000 and $30,000 – just to get those businesses up and running.

According to the company’s website, the firm expects to hand out 100 deals to eligible student start-up owners in the next five years. The firm also expects to roll out entrepreneurial “incubators" on college campuses (including high profile schools like Princeton and Georgetown) in the next two years.

You’ll need an actual business to qualify for the program, but any small business should earn a look by Gen Y Partners. Here are the other qualifiers the firm is looking for from student entrepreneurs:

  • A solid management team with business knowledge.
  • A scalable business model.
  • Existing paying clients.
  • A likelihood that potential competitors are limited.
  • A defined exit strategy.

Gen Y Partners is the brainchild of Scott Gerber, the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Gerber is also working closely with the White House on young entrepreneur initiatives, and it looks like the student loan program is another plank in that platform.

How can you get in on the action? Go to the company website and tap into the “apply” page. You’ll be asked to fill out some basic personal information (like name, address, and date of birth), then provide a brief executive summary of your business. The firm advises keeping the summary to two or three sentences. You can also provide a one-minute “optional” video pitch. The firm says it will review applicants in January 2012, and applicants should hear back soon after that.

So if you’re an entrepreneurial-minded college student looking to avoid student debt, the deal is on the table – no debt for three years, room and board for college, and start-up cash for your fledgling firm.

It certainly beats going to the bank or to Uncle Sam for a student loan – a loan that could take a decade or more to repay.

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