The College of Wooster selects Sparrow to help their students find the most affordable financing for school.
Approximately 9% of graduating students from The College of Wooster borrow private student loans. This may seem relatively small, but with an average loan size of $16,000 – the demand for private student loans is significant. As a result, Wooster’s financial aid officers are intimately aware of how daunting securing a private student loan can be.
Complex financial jargon introduces uncertainty for students as they question whether they’ll be able to attend school and what borrowing means for the future of their financial security. As a result, questions of loan eligibility, repayment terms, and cosigners inundate the inboxes of Wooster’s financial aid officers.
“Summer is our peak borrowing season. During that three month period, it feels like every conversation is about loans,” said Scott Friedhoff, Retired Vice President of Enrollment at The College of Wooster. “How much will the loans cost? Which should I choose? How can I minimize my debt? We’re overwhelmed with requests and questions.”
Starting the search for a student loan is intimidating from the get-go.
The arduous and time consuming process of figuring out which lenders a student may be eligible for compounds the anxiety. Most private lenders have complex credit criteria that aren’t easily understood in a FAQ. To find out if one qualifies, students often submit a lengthy application. If eligible, the majority of students make the cardinal mistake: they stop searching. Why waste time completing additional applications?
“In our research, students stop searching for a private student loan after their third pre-qualified offer,” said Harrison Hochman, CEO at Sparrow. “While this may seem innocuous, the consequences can be dire. The range of APRs from different can vary heavily by many percentage points. Stated differently, finding one additional lender may result in thousands of dollars of savings.”
This challenge is not unique to Wooster. However, it’s what Wooster proactively did to address the issue that sets them apart.
In the Spring of 2021, Sparrow and Wooster collaborated on ways to leverage Sparrow’s platform to serve Wooster students, administrators, and parents.
Sparrow’s platform was designed as a pragmatic solution to the challenges faced by Wooster students. By completing a simple three minute form, Sparrow exhaustively searches its network of lenders to automatically pre-qualifies students for the most affordable private student loans. Sparrow is like an Expedia for private student loans.
Having spent nearly three decades as an executive in higher education, I’ve seen many attempts at trying to affect systematic change. We signed our partnership with Sparrow and had their program launched to students within three weeks. With Sparrow, we can now guide students and parents better and with great confidence that they will manage four years of college expenses wisely. Sparrow made that possible.Scott Friedhoff, Retired Vice President of Enrollment
Sparrow boils down the complex financial lexicon into language digestible by first-time borrowers. But perhaps most importantly, by exhaustively searching the private student loan market, Sparrow empowers borrowers to pick a rate with confidence. Rather than stopping with a single lender, Sparrow pre-qualifies students with over 17 different lenders to ensure that there isn’t money being left on the table.
Prior to working with Sparrow, Wooster students took three to four weeks, on average, to apply with 17 unique lenders. After working with Sparrow, Wooster can do the same breadth of search in as little as three minutes.