Hyderabad: GradRight, a higher education focused fintech firm born in Hyderabad, is trying to change the way students finance their education by bringing together students, banks, and universities on a single platform, bringing down the loan research and approval time from 2-3 months to just 3-4 days and saving lakhs for each student.
The company aims to disrupt technology, re-innovate the fintech model to make the funding process easy and maximise the returns for students.
Data shows that at least 50 per cent of Indian students are unable to secure admits due to funding issues and institutions are losing out on promising students after going through the rigorous and time-consuming process of outreach and selection. Almost 80 per cent of students are on costlier loans than required and bear unnecessary cost of education.
Sasidhar Sista, co-founder, GradRight, told Telangana Today, in an exclusive interview, “We saw major problems with regards to the variations in the credit policies for education loans and lack of efficiency/automation in the lending process. Finding money to get the right education is a global problem. To address this, we came up with the world’s first education loan bidding platform (in just 22 days) where financing institutions bid for students’ loans transparently. This helps the students secure the best possible loans in a timely manner, from the comfort of their homes, and never miss out on enrolling after securing their admissions.”
The bidding process aims that the student is at the centre of the process. If it works for the student, GradRight believes it will work for the lender and the university. The effort is to ensure the cheapest loan to a student by bringing down the interest rates to enable financial sustainability.
The platform sets certain principal points and makes lenders and students interact. A student creates a profile on the platform, the anonymous file is sent to the lender with all the required data points to evaluate the student’s profile. A GradRight member acts as an advisor to make the process streamlined. The loan is thus approved.
For lenders (banks and NBFCs), GradRight has become a scalable platform that delivers funding opportunities in the form of pre-qualified, high potential students, saving 50 per cent of customer acquisition cost. The company has partnerships with private banks, public sector banks, NBFCs and international lenders, which primarily look at high ticket loans.
Serving Telangana students
“So far, more than 1,800 Telangana students have signed-up on the GradRight platform to realise their higher education dreams. Out of these, over 1,000 students are aspiring to study in the USA, more than 300 students in the UK, over 300 students in Canada and 200 plus in countries such as Australia, France, and the rest of Europe,” Ramya Yarlagadda, International Development, GradRight said.
Over Rs 550 crore worth of loan amount has been requested by GradRight Telangana alumni via its FundRight platform so far. Over Rs 90 crore has already been approved. The students come from all parts of Telangana including towns such as Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Warangal, and Bhongir. Hyderabad leads in the number of students going abroad from India with the US being their dominant destination.
GradRight’s Telangana alumni are represented at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, New York University, Northeastern University, Arizona State University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, HEC Paris, LSE, University of Manchester, and King’s College London, Sista added.
Ramya informed, “Pan-India, GradRight has over 9,500 registered students. The registrations are growing at a rate of 42 per cent month-on-month. Cumulative loan requests on the platform are over Rs 2,900 crore and growing at 48 per cent month-on-month.”
About Rs 400 crore worth loans have been approved and are growing at 41 per cent month-on-month. GradRight has partnerships with 12 domestic colleges/universities, 15 international university partnerships, with a potential to reach 50,000 students seeking higher education opportunities internationally.
GradRight observes that 70-75 per cent of the students from India go for computer sciences (37 per cent), engineering and STEM courses. The US, Canada, and the UK remain the major destinations. Major loan requests are for studying abroad while some students are also looking at select domestic education opportunities.
Sista said, “GradRight plans to launch SelectRight in the next couple of months, a platform which enables students to find matched universities/colleges that create better returns. Going forward, the company wants the platform to provide every lender a curated prospect base of student borrowers, unique to their own credit policies that will help them save costs and make innovative loan products for students. There are plans to take GradRight to other developing countries from where students aspire to pursue higher studies internationally.”
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