Student loan debt in the United States is an absolute nightmare, but there is one B2C startup based in Miami that is looking to fix the online mess that the government has created.
Founded in 2012, Citizen aims to streamline the outdated and subdivided US government by offering a solution that effectively expedites the online application process while providing solutions to maximize benefits.
According CNN’s “Crossfire” host Van Jones, even the term “student debt” is antiquated as it is more accurate to describe it as “college debt” or “education debt” because “not just students but entire families are paying the cost of our broken system for funding higher education.”
The strain is so great, it is being felt and paid for by the families of the students, even decades after they graduate, or in some heartbreaking circumstances, even after a student is deceased.
Filling out the correct forms for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a long and arduous process, and even if you manage to decipher all the government’s bureaucratic jargon, you still might not receive all the benefits that you are eligible for.
That’s why a company like Citizen is in a unique position to help as it is not affiliated with any government organization and has no loyalties to the Department of Education.
What the company does provide is “simplified online preparation and filing software to assist in preparing and filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and to help users determine their potential eligibility for student financial aid.”
Adding to the company repertoire, co-Founders Guillaume Lellouche and Kate D’Amore were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs last month and will join entrepreneurs from 14 other Miami-based companies for the global entrepreneurship network.
The benefits of being an Endeavor Entrepreneur include receiving mentorship, services, and access to capital, global markets, and talent.
“We have already met a great group of mentors through Endeavor and look forward to meeting with more to help accelerate our growth,” said D’Amore in an interview with the Miami Herald.
Billed as the “Intuitive Student Financial Aid Assistant,” Citizen’s software not only helps with filling out difficult government forms, it also calculates tuition, books, cost of living, and even has a household calculator to make sure that all finances are budgeted and incorporated for your student loan application.
The US is seriously lacking in education and the system is one built on greed, control, and manipulation. There isn’t a startup that can help change that system, but Citizen is one that can at least make it manageable, so that you can get the most benefit that the government should be providing, but is otherwise withholding in their bottomless pit of financial regulations and schemes.
To quote Van Jones again, “A crackdown on deceptive lenders and out-of-control collection agencies would be just the start. Little would boost our economy more than forgiving debt outright. And then there is the big one: We could make all public colleges free with what we are already spending on hodgepodge federal financial assistance.”