How pitiful is this: A new Web site that helps college grads beg for money to repay student loans.
Borrowers start the process by signing up at Lilyslist.com and providing a copy of their loan statement.
Then parents, relatives or even anonymous donors can use credit or debit cards to make contributions that are sent directly to the lender.
Donations are in addition to, not a substitute for, the borrower’s regular monthly payment.
The site is the creation of four moms concerned with student debt. President Jennifer Taylor got the idea while having a frank discussion about student loans with her daughter, Lily, now a freshman at the University of Iowa.
“She was horrified” at how much her education was going to cost, Taylor says.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a free service. Lily’s List, Inc. is a for-profit company. Grads pay $15 a year to sign up, and every contribution carries a $2.75 fee.
But we think Lilyslist.com has a future because student loans have become such a burden for so many former students and their families.
The average student graduates college with over $23,000 in debt, and a lot of them are having a tough times finding the jobs they need to pay that money back and begin their adult lives.
We also like that the site verifies the loans are legit and ensures that contributions make it to the lender.
We’ve seen Web-based pleas for help paying down student loans, usually through a blog that’s collecting money through PayPal, for example.
But there’s no real way to check that the sob story’s true, or that the money isn’t be used to fund a nice trip to Tahiti.
If Lilyslist.com takes off, Taylor says companies will be allowed to put ads on the site in exchange for donations to its participants.
It also hopes to attract anonymous donors looking to help grads from their alma maters.
So if you sign up, make sure to put in your school and any fraternity or sorority affiliation, and fill out your “about me” section.
You never know what can catch a donor’s eye.