If you’ve been searching high and low for a way to reduce your student loan debt without living in a van, set down your keys and grab your computer. We have a solution for you.
It’s called Gradible.
Gradible is an innovative and relatively new company created by three entrepreneurs to combat the United States’ trillion-dollar student loan problem. The founders understand that not only do students rely heavily on loans to attend college, but the cost of higher education is skyrocketing at an alarming rate.
So what exactly does it do?
Gradible pays college students and grads to perform certain tasks. Some are quick, like posting to Facebook, and others are more time consuming, like writing a well-researched blog post. You choose how much you work and which tasks you complete — and you don’t have to go through an extensive interview process or wear a suit for this job. (I recommend yoga pants.)
I took Gradible for a test-drive to see whether it lives up to its promise, and I’m about to share my best advice. If the site sounds like an interesting way to reduce your student loan balance, here’s how to get started.
How Does Gradible Work?
Anyone in the United States with student debt, whether public or private, is eligible. You can be a current student, a graduate or even taking time off from earning your degree.
Gradible will give you $5 just to signup and confirm your email address. Once you’re logged in, you can start to complete tasks. Gradible awards you with “LoanCreds,” which you then redeem against your student debt. 10 LoanCreds equal $1, and you’ll earn between 5 and 500 LoanCreds for completing each task.
What are Your Initial Gradible Tasks?
Here’s what to expect from your initial tasks when you sign up.
- Complete a survey. The first one is easy, a simple survey with a few questions that help the Gradible team learn more about you. They’ll ask you what type of work you’d be best suited for (like posting to Facebook or creating a blog post). They’ll also ask about your interests (finance, reading, writing, etc.).
- Write a short essay. It sounds painful, but don’t worry, it’s not. You went to college, after all! All I had to do was write 300 words about student loans, likely so the team could get a feel for my writing style and ability to write clearly and succinctly.
- Upload an ad to Craigslist. This one should be a breeze for any college grad. They asked me to go to Pinterest, find a particular photo and upload the photo to Craigslist with a description (it was an advertisement for a company).
Completing these three tasks took me less than 20 minutes, and I earned approximately $10 towards my student loans.
Speed isn’t everything, though; completing tasks well and thoroughly will open up the doors for more job opportunities. Basically, the better you are at following directions, the more jobs you’ll be able to complete.
Writing jobs pay the most, according to the company’s website. My best tip is to treat your work for Gradible with the same concentration and respect that you give your full-time job. The team loves it when people follow directions and do great work, and they will reward you with more opportunities.
Is the Pay Worth Your Time?
Are you wondering whether this type of work is even worth your time? James Foster, the blogger behind Debt Free Homestead, has been working for Gradible for months and shared some of his experience with me.
“Overall, I feel the pay is very fair,” said Foster, when asked whether his time investment was worthwhile. “While you could probably make more money by doing this type of work at a full-time job, it is definitely worth it if you are completing tasks in your free time, or even as a secondary income stream.”
James works full time, so he can only work on Gradible tasks in the evenings. However, those hours have paid off! So far, he has earned $250 using Gradible. During October 2014, he’s worked even harder to complete tasks and is projected to make over $200 for this month alone.
Why Gradible Works for Me
I finished college in December 2008, and despite graduating from one of the country’s best schools, I had no job prospects. Instead, I went to graduate school and took out more loans.
Slowly, over the last few years, I have brought my student loan balance from $39,000 down to around $33,000. Still, each month I have to make a decision about whether to use extra cash to pay student loan debt, add to my savings account, or make a purchase for my children.
For me, the best part about Gradible is that instead of paying me in cash — which I could then spend on something unnecessary — Gradible pays my loan provider directly. I have no choice but to reduce my student loans one task at a time.
A Simple Business Model
Gradible’s model is simple: You work. You get paid. You instruct the company to apply the funds to your student debt.
There’s no way to change your mind or allocate your income to another savings goal. Every task you complete goes toward reducing your balance — as well as building your resume, especially if you snag one of the higher paying jobs like writing an ebook.
If you’re interested in giving Gradible a try and reducing your student loan debt, sign up for an account here. Plus, they give you 50 “LoanCreds” (50 credits = $5) when you sign up and confirm your email!
Catherine Alford is a full-time blogger, personal finance freelance writer, and mom of young twins. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.