Written by Kevin Volz.
Attending college is expensive. To ease the financial burden on their children, parents often take out a loan under their own names to help pay for tuition. This leaves many parents locked into high interest rates for years. Steven Muszynski, founder and CEO of LendULink, has developed a solution to lower interest rates and save parents money.
“We want to help parents save money on future loans,” said Muszynski. “Our program determines if a family can pay off their college loans, and if they can, it gives them a lower interest rate.”
What makes LendULink unique is the program’s combination of saving while the child is in high school and borrowing when they head to college. Families are asked to make 12 to 24 consecutive monthly deposits into a LendULink college savings account. This demonstrates the family’s ability to save, and qualifies them as a low risk borrower when it’s time to take out a college loan. LendULink can then secure a lower interest rate for the family, and works with financial institutions to offer this product.
“Parents deposit money into these accounts to demonstrate their saving power, and this allows us to reward them with access to loans at lower rates,” said Muszynski.
According to Muszynski, LendULink can save parents an average of 27% off interest on college loans, or up to $23,000.
“The whole point is getting families to save more and borrow less,” said Muszynski. “And if you do borrow money, we’ll get you lower interest rates so you’re only paying what you deserve based on your risk.”
LendULink is a graduate of the Bizdom accelerator in Cleveland, Ohio, a northeast regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. Bizdom founder Dan Gilbert also founded Quickens Loans making the accelerator a perfect fit for Muszynski.
“The Quickens Loans connection with Bizdom was a key selling point for us,” said Muszynski. “When Quickens Loans started doing online mortgages, they revolutionized the industry. We want to be the same game changer for the college loan industry. The knowledge we received through Bizdom in terms of defining our product and the demand in the market was tremendous. They’ve been a great partner in helping to move the company forward.”
Muszynski is originally from the east side of Cleveland, and moved back home from Atlanta specifically to start the company.
“I wanted to do this in Cleveland. There are so many people in the city offering support and mentorship to entrepreneurs,” said Muszynski. “Ohio Third Frontier does a tremendous job of pushing funds to startups. The combination of the state’s support and the people here is pushing Cleveland to the forefront as a strong technology hub.”