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Student loans got you down? Don't get mad, get Graduate Leverage

As some of you may have gathered, I’m a member of the HBS Rugby Club. As well as playing rugby and taking part in secret drinking ceremonies carried out by the team, I have had the pleasure of becoming well acquainted with a whole host of interesting EC’s. One of these is Ken Ebbitt (OG), or Kenneth Cooper Ebbitt III as we prefer to call him. As ‘Captain of the backs’ Ken has been like a father to me and my fellow RC ruggers. He has taught us how to survive both on and off the field.

After spending time with Ken at the MBA Rugby World Championships at Duke, NC I realized that there’s more to Ken than meets the eye… When I asked him about second-year course selections it came to light that his EC field study has turned into a blooming business. A business that saves students like you and me hard $$$! It’s called Graduate Leverage.

As part of a team of five students, Ken along with Dan Thibeault (OB), Jeff Wanic (OI), Andrew Solomon (OE), and Mark Palmenter (OB) recently launched Graduate Leverage. It’s a student run loan consolidation and debt management company that takes all of the hassle out of the loan management process so that students don’t have to worry about consolidating Federal Loans while they scuba dive in Aruba or hike Mount Kilimanjaro after graduation.

I had no idea that within the walls of HBS, this field study team has literally begun transforming the student loan consolidation world. Through GL’s “Personalized Reservation System,” students can log onto their service and, at no cost, have their loans individually reviewed and then consolidated in order to fix their loan interest rate. Over the life of a loan, the accrued savings from consolidation could be as much as $40,000.

Graduate Leverage is the only intermediary in the student loan business that is run by students who are, in essence, looking out for both the best interests of and best interest rates for other students. And the message is resonating nationwide. Graduate Leverage has been invited to speak at over 50 graduate programs. You can also catch them at national conferences for Teach for America, the American Medical Student Association, and the National Association for Graduate and Professional
Students.

Here’s how it works: any student holding federal debt can lock in interest rates at 2.875% for three years and then have them drop to 1.625% for the life of a 30-year loan, provided that payments are made on-time.

Assuming that HBS whiz-kids (yes, I’m talking about you) can actually invest wisely (or hire someone who can invest wisely for them), you could see an asset accretion of over $100,000 generated by the lower monthly payments.

But, Graduate Leverage is certainly not your typical consolidator, who
want your business but offer no service or guidance in return. Due to the fact that they do not actually consolidate or offer loans, they’re free from any inherent conflicts of interest. In addition to providing general educational management advice, the service also tells students about which loans they might want to exclude and how to ensure they get the lowest rate. They even show students how to remove their names from the marketing lists of loan consolidators and direct mail credit card offers – I for one would be willing to pay a fee just to receive this service, as I hate junk mail from credit card companies!

Editor’s Note: More information about Graduate Leverage can be found at www.graduateleverage.com

April 12, 2004
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