Student Loan Debt For Charity

Student loan debt in America is becoming an ever increasing crisis. The average student leaves college with over $45,000 in debt and in 2007 students borrowed $18.5 billion, up 6% from 2005-2006. This growing trend is causing many young Americans to question if college is worth the investment all together. Also, many graduates can not afford to pursue social, teaching, and civil jobs after college because their incomes are just too low to pay off the large loan debts needed to graduate. Charity for Debt is a new non profit, which hopes to help with this alarming trend by decreasing student loan debt in America through a unique process.

Charity for Debt connects students who have large student loan debt with sponsoring donors who will pay down their debt at $20 per hour in exchange for time spent volunteering at a local charity the donor chooses. Sponsored students work an average of 5 hours per week, earning $100 per week, paid directly to the student’s loan company. Donors usually give $1,000 to sponsor a student for 40 hours of volunteer time and are typically individuals or small businesses. Students compose weekly journals describing their activities, positive outcomes, and takes photos of their experiences. This content is then captured on the student’s online volunteer portfolio where sponsoring donors can easily see and comment on the results of their donated dollars. The student gets their debt paid off for helping a great cause and the donor can help the student and the charity at the same time, doubling the good will of the donated gift!

The Charity for Debt founders (Jonathon and Brandon) are two young, IT oriented individuals with entrepreneurial backgrounds who hope to positively change the world with their model and business expertise. They have already been contacted by a NBC Today Show reporter about a potential news story once a pilot program has been started. Jonathon and Brandon are currently trying to raise $10,000 to begin two pilot programs in Washington, DC and Dallas, TX. They have raised $6,000 so far. This unique approach to helping the student debt crisis, supplying reliable volunteers to charities, and creating transparency for its donors could bring them the success they deserve.

The preceding content was a guest post by Jonathon Lunardi, co-founder of Charity for Debt. Jonathon and I shared a few thoughts via Twitter, and then email, on the student loan industry and his mission at Charity for Debt. I asked him for some information I could pass along to my readers, because this is such a fascinating concept.

To view more about this model and become involved by donating, signing up as a volunteer, or partnering as a charity/non profit, please visit CharityForDebt.


  1. That is really cool. Anyone know how to transfer credit card debt into student loan debt?!?!?

  2. i cannot wait until this thing makes it to Austin! I’m first on the waiting list!

  3. I hope this project is a success. It seems like a win win situation for everyone involved. The company gets its name out, the student gets money, and the charity gets free labor. Or as Michael Scott on the office says, “WIN WIN WIN!”

  4. This is so something I would love to do… I’m already signing myself up to volunteer anyhow; I certainly don’t mind having someone else direct me to a charity I may have never picked.

    I can foresee many of the people who take part as volunteers continuing to volunteer even after their student loan debt is gone. That great feeling you get from helping others out is addictive!

  5. @Jeff: I had the same thought! I was wondering if we couldn’t start a similar program for working off credit card debt. I’d be one of the first to sign up!

  6. I signed up for this. It’s an amazing opportunity.

    I’d kill for just $45,000 in loans. My parents have been divorced for years. After my acceptance at a top, liberal arts college (which carried with it a huge scholarship) my father informed me he never thought I’d be smart enough to go to college and never saved me for. College loans, while a big burden, helped me reach my dream.

  7. I think this is a fantastic idea. I would love to volunteer my time in order to pay off my student loans. The company I work for is very into charity & I’m hoping that if this organization takes off that they would help sponsor me. It would be the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.

  8. I think that is a great thing to do. I’m $200,000 in student loan debt and I need all the help I can get!