Financing Postgraduate study: Avoid Gradurates.com Watch

samb1987
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For anyone that is struggling to fund their postgraduate study...

This September I began an MA in History, and, like everyone else who wishes to pursue postgraduate study, was left wondering throughout the summer what the best way would be to fund it. Personal savings, scholarships, a Career development loan etc... all seemed like viable options.

However, another option that crept up during google searchers was the company 'Gradurates', a peer-to-peer lending company, who specialise in 'offering loans to graduates to cover postgraduate study'. They state their aim is 'to offer borrowers increased access to postgraduate finance at a lower cost, while offering lenders an attractive yield and the opportunity to help postgraduate students'.

It all sounded quite reasonable. Their interest rates are good and the repayments are very low - low enough for a student working a few hours a week to cover. The problem, however, is when you try to contact them.

After I applied I heard nothing at all back from them; not even a confirmation e-mail to say my application had been received. After about 2 weeks I emailed them regarding an update. After another week I still had no reply. Also, please bare in mind that this was about 6-8 weeks before the start of my course so time was not necessarily on my side and a decision regarding the loan application was needed. For if I was to be declined I would have of course needed to sort something else out.

Anyway, I decide to contact them on twitter to see if a response could be pressed out of them via that method. Hooray I got a reply! The company has employees I thought (or at least someone who checks twitter!). I was asked to PM them and then consequently to check my email for an update. Finally, we're getting somewhere (or so I thought). The email I received simply stated that I had not made an application! That the application I had made was incomplete and I needed to re-apply! I nearly didn't bother and thought I should just pursue another method to fund my study, but eventually I decided to fill in another application. I won't go into the problem of having to re-apply as it just shows the inadequacy of their system (apparently I couldn't re-apply with the same information as an application already existed...Eugh).

So moving on, I eventually re-applied and eagerly waited for their response. At this point I had actually decided to fund it myself (without using Gradurates) but thought I wouldn't mind keeping my savings and using a low interest loan to pay the fees. But alas, still no response after about 2 weeks. I had now fully given up with the company. A simple email saying that I had been declined (if that was the outcome) would have sufficed. I understand not everyone would get accepted, but leaving someone 'hanging', not knowing whether they're getting the loan or not is just plain inconsiderate, and especially bad business.

Now, that all happened a few weeks ago. I since have started my course and have (of course) still not heard anything back. I have, however, since learned that I'm not an isolated case and others have also not received any response from Graduates. I sent Jothan Webb, the CEO of Gradurates, a twitter today explaining the palaver. Surprisingly, he got back to me and also within 10 minutes. Amazing how they can reply to twitter so quickly but cannot check their emails for a month at a time.

So let me just clarify. This is not necessarily a bash at Gradurates. Their aim is sincere - to allow more people to be able to fund their postgraduate education. However, all sincerity is completely lost when they simply won't respond to the people who need that money. And for the record, I didn't get declined, so this is not an angry ramble at them because of that, but simply my experience dealing with the company.

If anyone else has had a similar experience then please post below; I know for certain a few people have.

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balotelli12
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Sounds like that they are run by ex employees of SFE!
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