What happens when you’ve repaid your loans for years only to find out the loan forgiveness won’t kick in because you didn’t fill out the right paperwork? What if you can’t repay loans right now because you lost a job due to the coronavirus recession? Ann Arbor’s LoanSense, a brand-new startup founded by Catalina Kaiyoorawongs and co-founder Ivan Herndon formerly of StockX, uses technology to find the right program for loan forgiveness or repayment and helps people who are struggling to repay loans or who have been repaying them but didn’t sign up for the best program for their situation.
It works like this: A user uploads the paperwork they received on their loan repayment, and the algorithm from LoanSense uses this information to help place them in the right program for repayment or forgiveness. Even if you didn’t fill out the right paperwork or were given the wrong information 10 years back about how to repay your loans, LoanSense can re-track the payments and get you on track after the fact. We spoke with Kaiyoorawongs after both she and co-founder Ivan Herndon caught and recovered from COVID-19 on the heels of raising funds for the new tech company in January. It was quite a tumultuous beginning, but 2 years after winning the Detroit FinTech Challenge and first place at Innovation in Action, LoanSense launched their new student loan advisor app this week.
LoanSense traditionally has worked with companies to help them develop and participate in programs for matching student loan repayments, but Kaiyoorawongs says that in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the startup is getting information out into the community about options for people struggling with loan repayments. If you’d like more information, LoanSense is hosting webinars on student loan repayment. They will run May 27 4 pm, June 3 5 pm, and June 10 8 pm. “They’re for anyone who wants to know, how do zero payment loans work?” Kaiyoorawongs says. “We’re getting info out there about how small businesses can help employees with student loan repayment programs.”
Kaiyoorawongs says their webinars have attracted hundreds so far, and it’s obvious “there’s a huge need. We want to get info out there for those who have lost a job, who could be saving for themselves and not worrying about student loans.”
The LoanSense service takes the user about 15 minutes to upload relevant info online, which is intended to save people time and streamline the process of matching with repayment programs. According to LoanSense, there are federal programs that can help people who have recently lost a job. “Everybody who has lost a job should consider filing into these programs,” Kaiyoorawongs says.
Kaiyoorawongs says a majority of people who file for student loan programs and are rejected have this happen due to clerical errors. “20 million borrowers should be on these federal income-driven plans,” Kaiyoorawongs says. There are programs specifically designed for university and municipal employees.”
LoanSense also helps financial advisors work with clients on solutions and financial planning related to student loans. If you would like to learn more, you can go directly to the LoanSense resources page for a host of articles on student loan repayment and forgiveness advice.