Student loans can be confusing, and with federal interest rates rising, many students are lost.
“I realized I had maxed out on financial aid and I didn’t know a lot about it,” Chad Armstrong, founder of loan comparison website Levelend said.
Armstrong was a student at the University of Buffalo in 2002 when he realized he knew virtually nothing about student loans.
“I started looking for private options,” he said. “It was all very new to me and there were no comparisons to student loans. It wasn’t really effective and unfortunately you never really get the full transparency you’re looking for.”
Armstrong decided to take matters into his own hands.
“When I was researching the student loan market last year I came across a lot of data that showed just how important the private student loan option had become. I thought I could build something better,” he said.
Using his background as a technology expert, Armstrong came up with the idea of a website to streamline the loan comparison process.
“When I looked at the numbers and thought back to my own college experience, I realized how incredibly important it was that students understand the true cost of their private student loan options before they apply,” he said.
The website, called Levelend, pulls loan information from over 10 lenders and allows students to compare loan products side by side.
“We have the largest list of private lenders out of any comparison site,” Armstrong said.
The website is intuitive and easy to use. Users fill in their school, email and graduation date, and a list is generated of rates from different banks and providers.
“I wanted college students to have a resource that ensured they would make an educated decision when choosing a private student loan,” Armstrong said.
Though the website just launched a month ago, Armstrong is currently in the process of rolling out new features.
“We’ve had a great response rate,” he said. “The bounce rate is exceptional and I’m pretty happy with it.”
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