VNDE Poised to Disrupt Educational Financial Aid Industry
At a time when rising tuition costs have become a problem so large it is debated on the national stage, IgniteHQ member Kyle Cornelius is utilizing data to develop a solution. Kyle’s startup VNDE is a debt free, pay-it-forward system spring boarded by grantors and sustained by income sharing agreements amongst its beneficiaries.
What is VNDE
VNDE is in essence a service company providing a financial service in a revolutionary way. “We are leveraging big data to better understand customers and therefore better manage the risk from money providers,” explained Kyle. Unlike the traditional credit sector, VNDE focuses on both the borrower and the capitol making sure to match investors and students accordingly.
How it Works
VNDE’s services differ from other financial aid entities because “borrowers” receive funds for college and then promise to “pay forward” those funds once in the workforce. Each recipient enters into an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) which will determine how much and how often to pay depending on earned income. The VNDE model depends on grants from initial grant makers and a tested algorithm determining the conditions of recipients’ Income Sharing Agreement (ISA).
VNDE’s website explains students can select between short & long term ISA options which promise to be affordable and interest and fee free. Kyle says its VNDE’s algorithm, which is based on collected data, that ensures his program will save students between 15% – 75% financing their education.
The company emphasizes that recipients never share more of their income than the amount of wherewithal afforded to them.
Inspired by Purdue
Kyle says it was his own experience paying for college that inspired him to find a solution to the growing problem of affordability. “While paying off my own student loans I realized I was just a grain of sand in this vast desert of student debt,” said Kyle. “I was lucky enough to have parents that helped me, but I understand many high school graduates don’t have that support. Student debt can seriously hinder one’s personal ambitions. Many can’t even afford a higher education.”
Kyle later read about a new funding concept initiated at Purdue University which involved ISAs. Purdue’s “Back A Boiler” program was initiated by the Purdue Research Foundation and offered an Income Share Agreement (ISA). The concept was new and the funding limited at first, but the system promised paid-for education with the commitment of students to pay a fixed percentage of income for a fixed number of years back to the fund.
“After reading about Purdue, I just knew I could turn this concept into a startup. My experience is in big data and how to leverage data. I saw a fit here,” explained Kyle.
Plans for the Future
VNDE is focused on helping to fund undergraduate degrees at public universities and is currently accepting applications for Spring 2020. According to Kyle, VNDE will be prepared to help 500 students this spring, giving $28,000 per undergraduate degree and $3500 per associate degree.
As far as the company’s growth, Kyle says he is working on establishing trust with grantors and is building his board of advisors to include people who can help him navigate the grant maker ecosystem.
For more information on VNDE visit: www.vnde.org