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Six companies that help you repay or avoid student loans

Here’s a look at six companies focused on helping you repay your loans or, better yet, helping you avoid student debt in the first place.

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It’s not uncommon these days to see startups whose products essentially replace your mom — pre-made meal delivery, on-demand grocery apps, instant valet services. So it can be refreshing to hear about companies whose products can help you solve a problem that’s much more pressing: repaying your student loans.

Here’s a look at six companies focused on helping you repay your loans or, better yet, helping you avoid student debt in the first place.

1. BrowseU

BrowseU is a search engine company (like Google, but much smaller) that uses part of its advertising revenue to help pay off its users’ student loans. When you sign up, you get added to the bottom of the company’s list. Make BrowseU your go-to when you search for things like “cats on Roombas” or “how to use a can opener.” The company, which launched in October 2015, cuts each user a check for $500 to $2,000 as it generates ad revenue, in order of when each user signed up. It pays out one user at a time, so it could take a while before you see the cash — there were 2,500 users in January, and the first BrowseU user got his $500 check in late February.

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Try it if: You want to earn some extra cash to put toward your student loan payments.

2. Future College Fund

Future College Fund is a college crowdfunding site that parents can use to raise money for their kids’ college funds. To sign up, create a profile that includes your savings goal and connect a PayPal account. Then, ask your friends and relatives to contribute to your campaign in lieu of birthday gifts or holiday presents (Future College Fund keeps 2% of every donation). Consider storing your college savings in a state-sponsored, tax-free investment account known as a 529 plan.

Try it if: You’re a parent who wants to raise money for your kids’ college fund.

3. LoanGifting

LoanGifting, slated to launch this summer, is a student loan payments crowdfunding site and management system. You can add your loans to your LoanGifting dashboard to see them all in one place, and then ask your friends and family to contribute. And you don’t have to worry about overcoming your own willpower — LoanGifting sends all contributions directly to the lenders with instructions to apply the extra payment to your balance. Paying more than your minimum monthly payment will help you pay off your loans faster and save money on interest.

Try it if: You want your friends and family to skip gifts and help you pay off your federal or private student loans.

4. Quottly

Quottly is a website that can help you find community college or online classes to take in place of a required course at the college you’re attending. Browsing for courses is free, but for a fee, Quottly will also help you register for the class and make sure the outside credit transfers back to your home college. The service is available only to students attending schools in Florida, California and Pennsylvania.

Try it if: You want to save money on tuition by taking general education classes online or at a community college.

5. Red Kite

Red Kite is a scholarship search tool that can help you find free aid you’re eligible for. To get started, create a profile and answer some questions about your background, interests and plans. Red Kite will use that information to match you with scholarships, fellowships and grants you might qualify for. You can use your Red Kite dashboard to keep track of scholarships you want to apply for, ones you’ve already applied for and ones you’ve received.

Try it if: You’re a high school or college student looking for scholarships.

6. Student Loan Genius

It’s becoming increasingly common for employers to contribute to employees’ student loan payments, just as they would contribute to a 401(k). Student Loan Genius is a platform that helps employers institute this perk. If your employer doesn’t offer it, you can anonymously fill out a short request form on the Student Loan Genius website. It could be worth asking — a recent NerdWallet study found that borrowers who take advantage of this employer benefit could save around $4,000 in interest and three years of payments.

Try it if: You want to anonymously request that your employer start a student loan repayment benefit.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: teddy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @teddynykiel. This article first appeared at NerdWallet.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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