Of the nearly 50% of college students who drop out, 70% do so for financial reasons, making it by far the number one driver of dropout. This issue is disproportionately concentrated among low-income students, four-of-five of whom drop out. At the same time, a new student is going into loan default every 29 seconds, with those who drop out driving most default incidences and with students of color and women disproportionately bearing the brunt of this pain. Unsurprisingly, 39% of students now report willingly dropping out of college due to a fear of accumulating more debt. Edquity is the first of its kind college financial matching, planning, FAFSA completion, and success platform for high school and college students, supporting students through every financial decision on the road to college graduation. Edquity first prescribes a list of financially optimal four-year colleges or two-to-four year pathways for students based on students' individual academic and financial circumstances and factors that include projected debt, debt-to-income ratio, projected earnings by school and career path, graduation and transfer rates, unique support systems like opportunity program eligibility, food pantries, and emergency grant programs, social mobility, unemployment rate, and percentage of students who are able to repay their debt. Next, it automates the development of a financial plan for college success for each school of interest based on students' personal spending preferences, living circumstances and needs, the geographic cost of living, the projected availability of work, and true financial aid. Edquity then supports students through the electronic submission of their financial aid with our turbotax-for-FAFSA product. It then helps students interpret and use their financial aid award letters to update their financial plans for college success to inform their college decision. Finally, it bridges the gap between intention and action by integrating students' bank and spending and providing a three pillar framework to provide for holistic student financial success:
1) Personal financial management for students, with a safe-to-spend number, financial aid income disbursed like a paycheck, categorized expenses, and an "emergency mode" safe-to-spend threshold that can trigger help from the college.
2) A repository of emergency resources on and around campus (i.e., food pantries, legal aid services, housing supports, benefits screenings, etc), with time- and event-based push notifications to access these resources during times of crisis (e.g., "It's lunchtime. Are you hungry? There are two food pantries with 1 mile of you.); and
3) An emergency mode, which a) alerts the college when a student may be vulnerable to shock and b) allows a student to immediately apply for emergency aid through the app.