Charles, Gideon, Luis, Melissa B, Melissa C, and I started off with an interest in the crisis of rising student debt in the United States. After perusing resources and tools for students to figure out how to afford college and plan their financial future, we realized that (1) information on student loans is dispersed across the web and confusing, (2) most calculators are offered by profit-driven platforms, and (3) the convoluted facts about loans and scary numbers of debt and future payments can make users feel isolated instead of part of a community of affected students. Therefore, our first goal was to create a tool that combines basic information and a comprehensive calculator for financial planning with tailored connections to relevant online communities. We hope that our tool can be used both by affected students and by journalists in search of a streamlined way to crowdsource information on the topic and connect with pertinent groups. You can see the tool, the It Gets Smaller website, here.
The Student Debt team is looking forward to your feedback!