Atlanta startup helps students pay down debt

by: Clark Howard Updated:


ATLANTA - Georgia State University student Elis Sanchez understands the burden of student debt.

“Right now I think I'm $14,000 to $15,000 in debt,” he said.

And he’s not alone.

The average college student in America holds $35,000 in student loan debt. It's a number Christian Zimmerman wants to help lower.

“I had my own financial problems with student debt, and I was trying to find ways to pay it off a little faster,” Zimmerman said.

That’s where Zimmerman and co-founder Nate Washington say their startup, Qoins, comes into play

“A lot of people, if they don't have student loans, they probably do have credit card debt because they use one or the other to pay for school,” Zimmerman said.


Much like the app Acorns, which rounds up on your purchases and invest that money, Qoins applies your spare change to your student loan or credit card debt.

“You'll log into Qoins, set up your bank account and every time from there when you go get a cup of coffee, go get food, that transaction will round up to the nearest dollar and then be applied towards paying off the debt automatically,” Zimmerman explained.

While using Qoins will help, Channel 2 Consumer Advisor Clark Howard says there are ways to avoid student loans all together.

“Attending a two-year community college will allow you to get your general education at a much lower cost before you further your studies,” Howard explained.

Georgia State student Taga Faafa says choosing an in-state college saved her big time.

“I honestly just didn't want to take out money that I would have to pay back later. I knew that it would be a hassle, so I wanted to save myself the trouble now and just stay in state and complete a program of an undergrad program that would benefit me while benefiting me financially also,” Faaga said.

Zimmerman said the goal of Qoins is to make the burden of student loans a little less overwhelming.

“We just wanted to help not only solve our own problem, but help solve other students issue as well,” he said.

The cost of Qoins is $1 per month.