SoFi Announces Launch of Private Student Loans With No Fees

Online lending platform SoFi announced on Monday the launch of its new SoFi Private Student Loans, which is a no fees, competitive rates, flexible payment options, and a mobile-first experience.

SoFi reported that its SoFi Private Student Loans offering is built around an easy and transparent application process that can be completed online or on a mobile device. Applicants may pre-qualify in minutes without any impact to their credit score and will be able to easily add a cosigner through a digital process.

SoFi supports members through the search and student loan selection process by offering access to customer service seven days a week, in addition to SoFi Learn, an online resource center with over 500 articles, budgeting tools, guides, calculators and more.”

While sharing more details about the loan option, SoFi CEO, Anthony Noto, stated:

“The traditional student loan application process is daunting. We’ve taken everything we’ve learned in making lending convenient and painless and brought those solutions to younger consumers and their parents through SoFi Private Student Loans.”

SoFi also reported that the SoFi Private Student Loans offer competitive rates for variable and fixed rate loans, with no fees or prepayment penalties, and four repayment options (deferred, interest only, partial, and immediate). SoFi Private Student Loans will be available to applicants from all four-year public and private institutions by this summer.

SoFi membership, which comes with every SoFi product, offers benefits including exclusive events across the country, complimentary financial planning, and career coaching to all members through an exclusive partnership with Korn Ferry. Members also receive a rate discount on additional SoFi loans of a different type.”

SoFi went on to add that SoFi Private Student Loans are now available for undergraduate students. The lender will be opening up the product for graduate school students and parents in the coming weeks.

Ripple Donates Nearly $30 Million to All 35,647 Projects on DonorsChoose

On Wednesday, DonorsChoose announced San Francisco-based Ripple donated $29 million to fund every classroom project request on the nonprofit’s crowdfunding platform. According to DonorsChoose, the donation fulfilled 35,647 requests from 28,210 public school teachers in every state. Teachers at 16,561 public schools, or 1in 6 of all the public schools in America, will receive books, school supplies, technology, field trips, and other resources vital for learning.

While sharing more details about the donation, Monica Long, SVP of Marketing at Ripple, stated:

“At Ripple, we care about giving back to our community and we collectively value the importance of quality education in developing the next generation of leaders. DonorsChoose.org’s track record speaks for itself — they are highly effective at improving the quality of education and the experience of teachers and students across America. We’re proud to work with them to support classroom needs across the country.”

Charles Best, Founder of DonorsChoose, also commented:

“We are awestruck by the generosity of the Ripple team. Their gift will provide learning materials and experiences to more than a million students, overwhelmingly in low-income communities. I doubt that there has ever been a day when more classroom dreams came true.”

DonorChoose then reported that the Ripple team’s donation provides the ultimate culmination of #BestSchoolDay, a campaign launched in March 2016 when 58 athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists funded classroom requests in cities and states covering just under half of the country. The crowdfunding platform added:

“For a limited time, as teachers generate new classroom project requests on the site, DonorsChoose will offer donors the option of giving to the #BestSchoolDay Fund, which will be used to support projects from teachers creating their first requests on the site. DonorsChoose estimates that teachers will submit at least another 135,000 classroom project requests between now and the start of the next school year.”

Higher Education Comparison Service University Compare Now Seeks £250,000 on Seedrs

University Compare, a cross-platform higher education comparison service that helps universities and students connect, is now seeking £250,000 through equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

Founded in 2012, University Compare displays university statistics, student reviews, and personalized choices to help students decide which course to choose when applying to university. The platform stated its service helps sixth-formers make a better-informed decision through a suite of tools before entering into higher education.

“We’re able to offer a realistic perspective on the university experience. University Compare specialises in gaining reviews from former and current students who share their experiences online; they give a great insight into university life, similar to the reviews on TripAdvisor.

University Compare noted that it works with many universities, ranging from Russell Group to University Alliance. It was also revealed:

University Compare helps prospective university students find the right uni via a collection of university reviews and student advice. Helping students choose what uni they wish to go to. Use our degree course search, university open day calendar and our famous UCAS points and student finance calculator.”

The company reported it is planning to release its new mobile app shortly. All funds from the Seedrs funding round will go towards continuing growth of University Compare’s platform. The campaign is set to close later this spring.

Update: Stoneman Douglas Victims Fund Raises Over $1.4 Million Just Days After GoFundMe Launch

Less than one week after the Broward Education Foundation, the direct support organization solely dedicated to raising funds for Broward County Public Schools, launched the GoFundMe dedicated to the victims of last week’s horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School located in Parkland, Florida, supporters of the school and victims have raised well over $1.4 million.

As previously reported, On Wednesday (Valentine’s Day), the alleged shooter, who was a former student of the high school, walked into the building and killed at least 17 and injured 14. He was eventually caught and is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder. While sharing details about the campaign, The Foundation reported:

“Together with Superintendent Robert Runcie, the School Board of Broward County, Broward County Mayor Beam Furr and Commissioners, Broward Legislative Delegation and Broward County Public Schools family, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community.”

All funds from the GoFundMe campaign will go towards providing relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting. The foundation also noted that there are no platform fees for using GoFundMe, so 100% of the funds collected after payment processing charges will go directly to the victims and families. Following the shooting, Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi reportedly stated that the state will pay for the victims’ funerals. Therefore, the funds from the GoFundMe will go directly to the families.

The Women’s March organizers are also planning a national student walkout and a march in Washington D.C. to protest gun violence in the country. group’s statement reads:

“Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school. Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.”

The march/protest is set to happen on March 14th, one month after the school’s shooting.

Supporters of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Victims Give $500,000 in Less Than 24 hours through Broward Education Foundation’s GoFundMe Campaign

Following the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School located in Parkland, Florida, Broward Education Foundation, the direct support organization solely dedicated to raising funds for Broward County Public Schools, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to raise $600,000 for the victims of the incident.

On Wednesday (Valentine’s Day), the alleged shooter, who was a former student of the high school, walked into the building and killed at least 17 and injured 14. He was eventually caught and is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder.

While sharing details about the campaign, The Foundation reported:

“Together with Superintendent Robert Runcie, the School Board of Broward County, Broward County Mayor Beam Furr and Commissioners, Broward Legislative Delegation and Broward County Public Schools family, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas community.”

All funds from the GoFundMe campaign will go towards providing relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific shooting. The foundation also noted that there are no platform fees for using GoFundMe, so 100% of the funds collected after payment processing charges will go directly to the victims and families.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi reportedly stated that the state will pay for the victims’ funerals. Therefore, the funds from the GoFundMe will go directly to the families.

Since its launch earlier today, the campaign has raised more than $500,000 from over 9,100 supporters.

SoFi Launches “Refi and Relax” Program to Combat Against Student Loan Anxiety

Online lending platform SoFi announced on Tuesday it has launched its Refi and Relax campaign, which the lender explained is on a mission to educate graduates on their refinancing options as a way to relieve the overwhelming stress that comes with carrying student debt.

The lender explained that according to its recent member survey of over 1,200 respondents, eighty-three percent shared that they have felt like they couldn’t relax due to the burden of the debt. Fifty percent of people dealing with student loan debt reported feeling anxious and/or depressed, and fifteen percent of respondents went so far as to talk with a mental health professional about the stress of their student debt.

It was also revealed that over a third of respondents have reported losing sleep due to student loan debt. Seventy-five percent of respondents shared that they would give up social media if it meant their student loans would disappear. Forty percent of respondents said they would stay at a job that they hate because of student loan debt. Another twenty percent are willing to take even more dramatic measures by sacrificing a finger or toe in exchange for erasing their student loans.

While sharing more details about the campaign, Joanna Bradford, Chief Marketing Officer of SoFi, stated:

“We hear everyday from people with student debt that it feels like an anchor weighing them down from achieving other goals. There are millions of people who could take advantage of refinancing their student loans to lessen their burden that just don’t even know it’s an option for them.”

The lender added:

“SoFi was the first company to refinance student loans in the United States, and has helped people save more than $2 billion in interest on their student loans. On average, SoFi members save $288 a month — or $22,359 over the lifetime of their loan — through refinancing.”

The launch of SoFi’s Refi and Relax campaign comes just a few weeks after the lender announced that it topped $25 billion in loan originations. SoFi also claims a growing community of just under 400,000 users.

GoFundMe Teams Up With Thurgood Marshall College Fund To Help HBCU Students Pay For College

On Tuesday, global crowdfunding platform GoFundMe announced it has formed a partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which is considered the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. The funding portal and TMCF are notably teaming up to raise money in support of students at the nation’s 47 publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

While sharing details about the new partnership, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF President and CEO, stated:

“No American should be prevented from enrolling in and graduating from college because of money. Sadly, that is a reality for many HBCU students. This innovative partnership with GoFundMe makes ordinary people extraordinary philanthropists, through their online giving platform now used to support deserving HBCU students pay for their college education.”

Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO, also commented:

“We are proud to partner with Thurgood Marshall College Fund and help HBCU students pay for college. Thousands of students have turned to GoFundMe to help pay for college, and with college tuition on the rise, it’s more important than ever to help support students pursuing their higher education. This new partnership will make it simpler and easier for HBCU students to get the financial support they need to thrive at college.”

As part of the collaboration, GoFundMe released a new TMCF fundraising hub, which will serve as a resource for students and their communities.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for GoFundMe donors to find students attending HBCUs, as well as giving students and their families the tips and tools they need for a successful campaign. GoFundMe and Thurgood Marshall College Fund launched six GoFundMe campaigns for students attending college at Howard UniversityFayetteville StateNorfolk State, and South Carolina State.”

GoFundMe added that over the past several years, students, teachers, and parents are increasingly turning to its platform to raise funds for education expenses, including college tuition. In the last two years, over $100 million has been raised on GoFundMe for education-related campaigns, making it the fastest-growing category on the platform.

Staples Surpasses Chicago Teachers With Over $400,000 For Classroom Projects on DonorsChoose

On Thursday, Staples announced 890 teacher projects on DonorsChoose in the Chicago area will receive full funding as part of its $1 million donations.The office supply chain revealed that with a donation of more than $400,000 to support Chicago classrooms, Staples impacted 612 teachers and more than 85,000 students in the community.

The news of Staples’ Chicago donation comes just two weeks after the company announced all 133 school projects in San Francisco received full funding. As previously reported, Staples teamed ups with Lady Gaga to support education and create a positive classroom experience through its Staples for Students program. The new partnership was set to build on the program’s long-standing commitment to supporting education and helping educators along with students.

At the time, Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer at Staples, stated:

“We’re so excited to be working with Lady Gaga, DonorsChoose and Born This Way Foundation to help U.S. teachers have what they need for a great school year. Staples is a longtime supporter of education and, and we know there’s a burden placed on teachers to ensure that their classrooms are stocked with the materials and activities they need to spark kid’s learning. We are committed to supporting teachers through DonorsChoose.org and encourage others to fund a classroom project this year so teachers and kids go all-out in reaching their full potential or donate in one of our stores.”

Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose, added:

“Staples has been a steadfast supporter of DonorsChoose for years, and we’re so thankful for its continued support. Staples’s million-dollar donation to DonorsChoose ensures that hundreds of teachers, including many in San Francisco, will be able to bring learning to life for their students.”

DonorsChoose Update: All 133 Projects Receives Full Funding As Part of Staples and Lady Gaga’s $1 Million Donation

On Thursday, Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) announced that all 133 projects in San Francisco posted on DonorsChoose have received full funding as part of Staples’ $1 million donation.

As previously reported, Staples teamed ups with Lady Gaga to support education and create a positive classroom experience through its Staples for Students program. The new partnership was set to build on the program’s long-standing commitment to supporting education and helping educators along with students. Staples reported that it would be donating $1 million to Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and $1 million to DonorsChoose. Staples funded the balance of every 133 projects listed on DonorsChoose in San Francisco. With a donation of $100,966, Staples impacted 92 teachers and more than 9,760 students in the community.

Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer at Staples, stated:

“We’re so excited to be working with Lady Gaga, DonorsChoose.org and Born This Way Foundation to help U.S. teachers have what they need for a great school year. Staples is a longtime supporter of education and, and we know there’s a burden placed on teachers to ensure that their classrooms are stocked with the materials and activities they need to spark kid’s learning. We are committed to supporting teachers through DonorsChoose.org and encourage others to fund a classroom project this year so teachers and kids go all-out in reaching their full potential or donate in one of our stores.”

Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose, added:

“Staples has been a steadfast supporter of DonorsChoose.org for years, and we’re so thankful for its continued support. Staples’s million-dollar donation to DonorsChoose.org ensures that hundreds of teachers, including many in San Francisco, will be able to bring learning to life for their students.”

 

 

GoFundMe & Yoobi Announces Winner of “We Love Teachers” Fundraising Contest

Earlier this month, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, along with Yoobi, announced the winner of the “We Love Teachers” Fundraising Contest. The duo launched the initiative last month and it was described as a national initiative to support K-12 teachers, and GoFundMe will donate $1,000 to 100 campaign created by and for K-12 teachers. The winner was announced at a school-wide donation event at the Arts in Action Elementary School in Los Angeles. The contest’s winner, Jade Aposhian,  is a first-grade teacher at Arts in Action Elementary who raised $590 during her campaign.

Justin Wolff, Yoobi’s Chief Giving Officer, stated:

“We are thrilled to be honoring Ms. Aposhian as the winner of the ‘We Love Teachers’ contest today. Ms. Aposhian’s commitment to her students and persistent drive to improve her teaching is a model for all of us. Thanks to her dedication and hard work the kids of Arts in Action Elementary will have enough school supplies to finish the school and start next year on a high note. We thank GoFundMe for partnering with us to support hardworking teachers, like Ms. Aposhian, who help shape the future for so many kids.”

Yoobi reported that through its partnership with the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF), it donated “Classroom Packs,” which consists of boxes filled with essential school supplies, to more than 400 students across the school.  Each Classroom Pack includes hundreds of core learning tools and contained pencils, glue sticks, erasers, rulers, folders, crayons, colored pencils, markers and more.

 Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, added:

“We firmly believe that all teachers should have the tools necessary to provide quality education to their students. We’re glad we had this chance to partner with Yoobi to reward dedicated educators like Ms. Aposhian and help provide resources to classrooms across the country. We encourage GoFundMe’s community of donors to continue to support all of our hardworking teachers across the country who educate and inspire our kids.”

Overfunding: Tutora Surpasses £350,000 Funding Target During the Final Week on Crowdcube

With less than a week until its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube comes to an end, tutor marketplace Tutora has successfully surpassed its initial £350,000 and has secured nearly £425,000 from more than 450 investors.

Tutora was launched by co-founders Scott Woodley and Mark Hughes less than two years ago. The marketplace aims to help parents find and book private tutors online and its tutors have taught 3,000 lessons in subjects ranging from Math and English to Spanish and Accounting. 

About a quarter of state school students in England and Wales have received tuition and the tuition industry in the UK is estimated to be worth £6bn. Even so, finding a tutor has remained a difficult process. We believe Tutora solves this. We help parents find and book private tutors. We cover every subject and every age, across the UK. Since launching just over 18 months ago, our 6,000 tutors have taught over £1m worth of lessons.”

While sharing details about Tutora’s growth and development over the past two years, Woodley recently revealed:

“Our success has not only been recognised by our students, tutors and investors. We were recently finalists in TechNorth’s Northern Stars competition, which named us as one of the top 20 startups in the North. We have also been featured in many leading publications, including the Guardian, BBC, The Telegraph and TechRadar (India). Alongside all of this, we have partnered with Pearson, the international publishers, to develop the Tutors’ Guild series of tuition packs, designed to enable tutors to deliver the very best sessions.”

After the campaign secured its initial funding target, Hughes revealed:

We’re delighted to say that we reached our funding target earlier this morning and are now officially overfunding.Both Scott and I want to offer a massive “Thank You” to everyone who has supported us so far. We’ve had a hugely positive reaction to our plans from investors, but also from our growing team of tutors, parents and students – of whom over 150 have invested personally in the business.”

Funds from the latest Crowdcube campaign will go towards building an online tuition platform, student and tutor apps, and further grow the company’s community of tutors and students. The campaign is set to close this Sunday (March 12th).

Brief: GoFundMe Preps For Back-to-School Season with $50 Donations to Education Campaigns

Ready to kick off the 2016-2017 school year, GoFundMe announced it was giving a $50 donations to education campaigns on its crowdfunding platform and announced it is offering a $10,000 grand prize the category’s initiatives.

Schools-300x199From now until September 16th, campaigns on GoFundMe that are stated for or by a K-12 educator that raises a minimum of $250 from at least 5 donors will receive $50 from the funding portal. The initiative with the most success on the website will receive the $10,000 prize. All campaigns must include the GFMtoSchool hashtag to qualify.

GoFundMe shared:

With 77% of teachers paying out of pocket for supplies at an average total of $500 per year, it’s no wonder that more and more educators are turning to GoFundMe for help. In the last two years alone, donations to education campaigns have tripled, with over $100 million raised. During this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week in April, over 2,000 GoFundMe campaigns were created by and for teachers – raising more than $1 million.”

Earlier this year, GoFundMe notably invited nine underfunded schools around the country to compete and raise money for Chromebooks in the classroom, with matching donations of up to $5,000 per campaign.

Former Google Exec. Launches Crowdfunding Platform Dedicated to Academic Scholarships

Peter Hazlehurst, former CEO of Google Payments Corp., announced on Tuesday the beta launch of his new education crowdfunding platform, AngelScholars.

GraduationAccording to its description, AngelScholars offers up a crowdfunding solution to the scholarship system providing a new and unconventional way of giving back.

“Located in San Carlos, CA, AngelScholars PBC is a crowdfunding platform launched in 2016 to connect a new generation of donors seeking a more impactful engagement with students who need funding. Starting with as little as $50, anyone can easily create or fund a scholarship that they personally believe in. Alternatively, scholars can find and apply for unique opportunities or run their own campaigns based on their unique needs.”

 

Sharing details about the new funding portal, Hazlehurst stated:

Schools-300x199“For as little as $50 dollars AngelScholars makes it possible for people to get involved, have a personalized impact and have control over their donations much like that Phil Knight got when he donated $400 million to Stanford.With AngelScholars, all it takes is a little money, an idea of who you want to support and the willingness to ask for help from your friends on Facebook and Twitter. We do the hard work and verify the Scholars, while also facilitating a connection with them. We’ll make sure the money is spent wisely, and we let you see the impact you are having.”

The platform’s team revealed that scholarships may also be as specific as a coding camp for African-American high school students based in Oakland with a 3.0 GPA who are studying STEM, or as general as school uniforms for kids whose parents make less than $25,000 and live in Atlanta.

Hazlehurst went on to add:

“I benefited first hand from the power of a targeted scholarship, and I wanted a way to make my experience more of the norm than an outlier. We’re using technology and social networks to remove typical barriers to funding education. All that’s left is the desire for an Angel to help kids in a way they believe in, and students who share these same dreams.”

 

 

Brief: Boston University Launches Campus-Wide Crowdfunding Platform

On Tuesday, Boston University announced it has recently launched its very own crowdfunding platform for campus-based projects.

Boston University 2According to BU Today, the university has developed the portal to help academic departments, student groups, and other members of the BU community raise funds for research, service trips, projects, events, and other BU-specific ventures.

Kaitlyn Busconi, coach and former member of the BU dance team (which used the platform), stated:

 

“The hardest thing for us is that on top of school, we practice all the time and we perform at the men’s and women’s basketball games, so it’s hard to find time to fund-raise. The best thing about crowdfunding is that it’s easy to fit in with other commitments, because a lot of it is sending emails and pushing out our fundraising page on social media.”

Nicole Hawkes, associate provost for strategic initiatives, explained the constantly growing popularity of programs like other crowdfunding platform suggested that students and faculty would use the university’s site:

Boston University 1“Crowdfunding takes a tremendous amount of effort; it’s not just putting your project out on the platform and leaving it alone for six weeks. A successful campaign really relies on having a good network in place. We want to help the BU community navigate these ins and outs and raise as much money as possible for their projects.”

 

It was noted that the platform is not meant for students who seek to raise tuition or nonacademic travel funds.

 

 

Science Education Company Empiribox Returns to Crowdcube Seeking More Expansion Funds

Empiribox 2

Empiribox, a UK-based educational company, has launched its second equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise 125,000 to continue expansion.

EmpiriboxThe company noted that it not only provides the proper tools to teaching science, but also aims to equip 7-11-year-olds, particularly girls, with an understanding of the scientific method “coupled with excitement about science and enthusiasm to continue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subjects throughout their academic career.”

The Empiribox team stated:

“Not only do the children themselves deserve a proper science education, but the economy is dependent on significantly increasing the number of STEM graduates each year (“The State of Engineering” Report 2015 by Engineering UK), and many studies considering this problem recognise this can best be achieved by enthusing and enthralling children at an early age.”

Empiribox’s objectives are the following:

  • Empiribox 3Provide an affordable system for schools that up-skills teachers and substantially reduces their capital expenditure and resource/storage requirements for equipment by sharing it between several schools over a 4-year cycle
  • Reduce the stress, time and anxiety out of planning the annual science curriculum and lessons
  • Engage students in practical science experiments every week that meets and far exceeds the new National Curriculum
  • Make teaching science by non-specialists easy and ‘fun’!
  • Improve the confidence of non-specialists in delivering effective lessons
  • Boost schools’ results in the core science skills they need, leading to improved league table results and greater popularity and funding for participating schools.

Last year, Empiribox debuted its first campaign on Crowdcube and quickly gained 52,000. Besides being successful in crowdfunding, the company’s other achievements include:

  • Empiribox 680%+ renewal rate of schools entering the second year with Empiribox
  • Over 75 schools are now using our service
  • Annual subscriptions of £450,000 have been sold from the commencement of trading until late July 2015
  • Buy-in from major academy chains (ARK, Elliot, AET) and individual schools
  • Subscribers in both the state and independent sectors
  • Smooth running of the operations of the business
  • In addition, the company has been overwhelmed by the feedback from teachers, schools and pupils

Empiribox is currently under £50 per student per year. Noting what the funds will be used for, the company explained:

Empiribox 5“Further development and implementation of sales and marketing resources, including ongoing website enhancement, additional marketing collateral including videos of school activities, and creation and development of the collaborative, interactive website for teachers, pupils and parents that will support the classroom activities of the schools. Purchase enough equipment to deploy quickly to meet demand from new subscribing schools and maximise first mover advantage.”

Since its launch, the campaign has successfully raised nearly £80,000. It is set to close at the beginning of November.

____________________________________________________

 

Inspirus Credit Union Teams Up With DonorChoose to Help Washington Teachers Purchase Supplies For High-Need Schools

Inspirus Credit Union announced on Tuesday it has partnered with crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose to help purchase supplies for Washington classrooms in need. When contributions from individual donors hit the halfway mark for select funding requests, Inspirus kicks in the rest.

School SuppliesHaving set aside $25,000 in matching funds, the credit union already has helped fully fund 43 DonorsChoose projects (some in as little as eight hours). Currently, 47 projects still qualify to receive matching funds. Requests are pending for art supplies, book bins, microscopes, and much more.

In addition, when credit union members take out an auto loan before the end of the year, Inspirus is giving them $200 to donate to projects on DonorsChoose. Those funds are eligible for the match, too, if the member selects a request from a high-needs school.

Inspirus (formerly School Employees Credit Union of Washington) is open to anyone in the state who shares its passion for education. This is the credit union’s first partnership with DonorsChoose. President and CEO Scott Adkins stated:

Scott Adkins“We’re inspired by our members who not only give their hearts but their hard-earned dollars to ensure students in their classrooms get a chance for an A+ education. Partnering with DonorsChoose.org is a natural way for us to put our mission in motion. At the end of the day, we want to be valued most for what we give back to education.”

One DonorsChoose project that’s already received matching funds is “Calculators for Sixth Grade Mathematics,” a request from Park Orchard Elementary in Kent, a school where 85% of the students receive free or reduced lunch. Ms. Gray, who teaches science and pre-algebra, says the 30 calculators priced at $12.99 each “will greatly impact the learning of integer multiplication and math involving decimals.” She added:

“We have been struggling to do some of the math without calculators, and I know this will make a huge difference!”

Brief: Crowdfunding Platform Tilt Announces Top Party Schools in Canada Challenge

Kicking off the new school year with a competition, crowdfunding platform Tilt announced the Top Party Schools in Canada Challenge.

TiltThe Tilt team shared in a recent blog post:

“Last month we announced the top 10 party schools in Canada with Queen’s taking top spot. Those Gaels managed to knock out the competition with 500+ parties during the school year with each tilt raising an average of $349. We’ve heard that schools want another shot at the title, and we’re giving you just that. This is your chance to claim the title as the #1 Party School in Canada.”

While revealing details about the challenge, the platform explained:

“Here’s the deal: Get your school tilting and start collecting points. All of the great things happening on campus—like fundraisers, events, parties, student clubs, t-shirts tilts, etc.—will count toward your score. We’ll see who has the best campus by giving you points for each successful tilt, number of contributors, and every Tilt app install on your campus.”

The #1 school that receive the most funds by November 30th will receive a Tilt-sponsored party in the second semester (winter).

To check out each school’s progress, click here.

 

Supporters of Young Inventor Ahmed Mohamed Launch Crowdfunding Campaign Following Infamous Arrest

On Wednesday, 14-year-old Irving, Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed received national and even international attention following his arrest for supposedly bringing a bomb to school. Teachers of Mohamed mistaken his latest invention, a clock, as a bombing device and immediately alerted local authorities.

Ahmed Mohamed 1The teenager, who dreams about becoming an engineer someday, brought the digital clock to school to show his teacher. He stated to CNN:

“I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it.”

He then shared:

“[The police] arrested me and they told me that I committed the crime of a hoax bomb, a fake bomb.”

Following the arrest, President Obama announced on Twitter:

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, also showed his support for Mohamed and wrote:

“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed. Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”

Ahmed Mohamed 2Other supporters of the teen launched a crowdfunding campaign #IStandWithAhmed to raise $100,000. The description reads:

“This campaign is a collaboration of activists & compassionate citizens from Texas and across America, and LaunchGood has personally vetted each contributor and will ensure all funds raised will reach their intended destination”

The campaign’s organizers also noted that the funds will be used to help Ahmed further his education and to help other curious students like him interested in STEM fields have access to MakerSpaces where they can use high tech equipment like 3D Printers, CNC Machines, and all sorts of other cool stuff. They noted:

“We cannot undo the the fear and frustration Ahmed felt when being interrogated by police and walking out in handcuffs.  This moment will forever impact his life. But let’s show him that he is not alone and we support his love for engineering and inventing. At a time when our nation lags behind the world in math and sciences, these funds will help him continue his education and reach his potential.

 

Ahmed Mohamed“Young curious minds are not a threat. As a nation, let’s support our youth in increasing their competitiveness in science and technology development because this is what will make out country strong.”

Since the arrest, authorities have shared that Mohamed wouldn’t be charged, but he was suspended. He has since transferred to another school. Some who stand behind the teenager believe that this accusation was due to his Muslim background, but Irving’s police chief, Larry Boyd, stated that Mohamed’s religious beliefs did not have anything to do with the arrest, and he praised the department’s relationship with  Muslim community.

USI Affinity Forms Partnership With Marketplace Lender SoFi to Help Lawyers With High Student Loan Debt

Insurance Provider, USI Affinity, announced on Thursday that is has formed a partnership with marketplace lending, SoFi, to offer members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) the opportunity to consolidate and refinance their private and federal student loans into a single loan with a lower rate and lower monthly payment.

USI Affinity 1PBA and USI Affinity recently sought and selected SoFi for its ability to serve the consolation needs of legal professionals struggling with student loans.

SoFi offers its members unique benefits other lenders don’t offer such as Unemployment Protection, career support, the SoFi Members Network, and access to a host of other savings. If members apply through the PBA program website and refinance their loans with SoFi, they’ll qualify for a $300 welcome bonus.

PBA President William H. Pugh V, stated:

“The PBA’s new student loan refinancing program, available in partnership with respected financial services providers, can assist PBA members who seek a more efficient way of reducing burdensome student loan debt. We are pleased to offer this innovative and valuable benefit in response to our members’ requests for help in building their careers in the legal profession and achieving financial stability.”

Mike MurphyMike Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer of USI Affinity, added:

“The best thing we can do for our clients and their members is to implement unique programs like SoFi that can help members avoid undue financial risk as they progress in their careers. SoFi is the first step in helping them build financial wellness, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity the program provides today and where we envision it to lead in the future.”

Innovate Finance + Open University Launch FinTech 101, Online Course For Executives

fintech101

 

Recently, the first back-to-school ads popped up on my music streaming service, accompanied by the scent of the school year–anticipation of the new. I paused, remembered what it felt like to use an eraser and be dropped off at the curb daily, then kept writing. A computer keyboard and crowded public transit are the norm, these days.innovate finance and open university

Fortunately, school’s always in session online. Today Innovate Finance, which seeks to be the voice of the UK finance technology industry, and the Open University, a leader in part-time learning, have partnered to launch FinTech 101, an online introductory course to fintech.

liz moody“FinTech 101: Understanding Financial Technologies” offers 50 hours of module-based learning, and examines the origins of FinTech and its role in transforming the financial services landscape since the economic crash of 2008, according to Innovate Finance’s press release. The 50-hour course is suitable for senior executives, analysts, managers and associates, and offers a certificate upon completion, as well as an Open University digital badge. The individual cost is £695.

Open University’s Liz Moody, senior lecturer, executive education, described the course as,

designed to provide a comprehensive overview for people either working in or interested in innovating in this space creating products and access to services supported by technology. Our job is to encourage critical thinking in students through learning they can readily apply in their workplace. This course has the rigour of The Open University’s world leading learning design behind it and taps into the latest thinking and knowledge of Innovate Finance members.

lawrence wintermeyerFinTech 101 is part of the Open University Business School’s Executive Education programme, and draws on the expertise of academics working in the finance and research sectors. Startups including the Real Asset Company, Percentile and Ratesetter and big firms such as Mastercard and Lloyds Bank helped shape the curriculum. Themes include:

  • Digital banks of the future
    Big data
    Cybersecurity
    Payment evolution
    Blockchain technology
    Virtual currencies
    Alternative finance
    Regulatory challenges
    New markets and opportunities
    Creative disruption
  • innovate  finance logo 2The value of the fintech industry is estimated to be worth £20 billion pounds to the UK economy, and is expected to increase as more talent and investment enter the country. Fintech represents many innovations and services across sectors, and includes everything from mobile payments, crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer lending to challenger banks and digital currencies. At heart is a better understanding of the 21st century customer and the demands for more flexibility and greater choices in finance.

FinTech and MoneyInnovate Finance’s CEO Lawrence Wintermeyer said,

The vast and dynamic FinTech landscape must be understood to fully appreciate its impact to economies and societies. We are therefore thrilled that Open University has collaborated with our members to produce a comprehensive course on this subject. FinTech 101 is a great opportunity to learn about the origins of FinTech and the complex factors that have led to its creation and its growing influence in shaping the future of finance.