As the education sector evolves to bridge the skills gap in Australia, Study Loans has taken the lead on funding. Understanding that learning is now a lifelong necessity, the startup saw a need and an opportunity to address the lack of private funding. Brett Shanley, Co-Founder and CEO of Study Loans, said students needed better options so they could pursue tertiary education – and contribute to the economy – without amassing unsustainable debt.
“Our vision is for a more sustainable model for funding education. Government and private enterprise both play a part in this, and with Salesforce, we can rapidly scale our solution to help more individuals upskill or gain qualifications,” said Shanley.
Study Loans is the only specialist provider of student finance in Australia with a credit engine purpose built based on student behaviour. It is not simply re-branding personal loans but providing tailored finance for courses students are likely to complete. That finance is broken into what Shanley refers to as slices which students can access at set milestones throughout their course. This pay-as-you-go model ultimately allows students to pay less whilst studying and then more after they gain qualification.
“Our credit engine is built on 40 years’ of education data and takes into account a range of factors to predict behaviour. We analyse the borrower’s potential to secure a job or a pay rise in their chosen field and geographical location,” said Shanley. “The more likely they are to complete the course and go on to earn more money, the more likely they are to pay their debt.”
The course itself is a determinant of success which is why Study Loans only lends to students undertaking approved courses with its education partners. These include more than 60 leading educational institutions and, thanks to the support of Salesforce, that number is quickly growing.
The startup turned to Salesforce early on for a way to manage its vast database of potential partners. It now uses Sales Cloud to manage leads and opportunities as well as the onboarding of new partners. The automated workflows support Study Loans to work fast and efficiently. In fact, its small team onboarded 40 new education providers in less than 8 months, expanding the number of courses it funds to over 400. That’s four times the number of courses Study Loans launched with in September 2017 and the more recent adoption of Pardot is anticipated to accelerate that growth even more.
“We want to quickly expand our offering to cover 1,000 courses, and that means strengthening and building out our partner network,” said Shanley. “Pardot helps us to nurture these relationships, complementing the work of our business development managers out in the field.”