Monday, June 2, 2008

More on microloans

CNET just released an article, At microloan sites, the new college try, today about microloan sites and student loans. Basically, a microloan is a "small" loan given to a person who is not eligible for or who has exhausted other forms of credit, with terms of repayment. The loaners are not always banks--though they or other agent can become a middle man--but could be normal people who just want to help someone. For example, I just made my first Kiva loan this past week, purely out of interest in the idea of microloaning. But I wonder: could I have had a greater impact, in line with my professional goals and personal beliefs, if I had helped someone with their education?

I have some other questions:
  • Will a microloaning movement in education affect the amount of money people give to scholarships? A loan is different from a scholarship, but recycling money with microlending may appeal to some givers.
  • Will it affect how much people give to their alumni association--which also disperses funds to students--if they are tapped out from giving their "charity" to microlenders?
  • Should student financial aid offices or faculties start looking for funds for students by acting as agents or intermediaries to vouch for students?
  • And, would you loan money on this site? Would you look for a library student who needed funds to complete his or her education?
I think this area is going to see a lot of action in the next year, possibly affecting some students this year and more in the years to come as credit gets tighter.

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