Birmingham, Ala (WBRC) – Auto repair, job loss or medical expenses. We’ve all been in trouble at some point and need money fast. Now UAB students can take out $300 in loans from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Districts Institute for Financial Education, or RIFE.
Funds are available in less than 24 hours and no interest is charged if paid within 90 days.
“Your car breaks down on the way to school, so you miss class,” said Stephanie Yates, PhD, director of the institute and program maker. “You can’t go to work, so you miss work shifts and all of a sudden you can’t pay the rent. It all adds up. We thought, ‘If we can find a way to help the student get that frame, it will prevent all these other things.'”
Yates spoke with Collat School of Business Dean Eric Jack, Ph.D., and suggested a source of funds: a $25,000 fund that was originally created to help students after the deadly 2011 hurricanes. Help Yates students set the rules for the microcredit program:
- Get money for those who need it most,
- Keep a reserve so that emergency needs can always be met
- Enjoy the flexibility of providing non-emergency loans.
Priority is given to real emergencies, including:
- decrease in profit
- Transportation issues
- Housing issues or difficult living situations
- medical expenses
“It’s very helpful for students who have a gap between when the semester starts and when their financial aid arrives,” Yates said. “By far, the majority of loans are paid off within 90 days, and very few students have paid interest. That’s not your gotcha.”
The interest rate is 6 percent, starting from day 91. In fact, the goal is to offer an alternative to payday loans, property loans, and pawn shops.
Members of the student-led Green & Gold Fund have written an investment policy to help the fund manager grow while staying safe. They also sit on the loan committee (all identifying information for fellow students is removed).
The goal is to “continue to provide this resource for a long time,” says Jackie Dang, senior funder and member of the Green & Gold Fund and RIFE Portfolio Manager. “It was a useful experience to know that I am part of an organization that does what we can to help the students of the League of Arab States.”
Any UAB student can apply for a small loan, “We try very hard to make it as quick and painless as possible,” Yates said.
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