College affordability has recently become the preeminent issue in higher education, as student debt figures have hit staggering levels.
Student loan debt exceeds other types of consumer debt in the US, like car loans and credit card debt, reaching $1.279 trillion as of the third quarter of 2016.
And while lawmakers and student advocates look for solutions to the problem of unsustainable debt, relief for some borrowers may come from an unlikely place: online games.
Givling is a pay-to-play online trivia game that helps students pay off their loans.
To date, Givling has paid out $460,970 in student loan payments and player prize awards.
Players, who gravitate toward the game to win additional prize money, are randomly placed into teams of three and answer true or false questions to rack up points. After their one free daily game, they pay 50 cents per round, plus an additional 30 cent transaction fee, and compete to win hundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars a day. As of the time this article was published, the daily award pot was $190.
If you have loans to pay, you don’t have to play for a chance at the cash. People with student loan debt can sign up for Givling to be placed in a queue to have debts paid, up to $50,000. The players’ fees, plus ad revenue, fund these payments.
Ten people are in the Givling queue at any given time. You can track the progress being made to fund their loans in full. When the loan is fully funded, Givling shows up at their door with a ceremonial check for the full amount. (Givling actually pays the loan service provider directly.)
Four of the queue slots are chosen randomly, three are are chosen chronologically based on the order users registered for Givling, and the last three are saved for borrowers who have purchased the most coins to play the game themselves, and contribute to the pot.
So far, the game has paid two students’ loans in full: Kevin Foster’s $32,000 student loan, and Tobin Hale’s $62,000 loan. Since Hale’s loan was paid, Givling changed its maximum loan award payment to $50,000. It also has opened the door for individuals to enter the queue to have their mortgages funded up to $25,000.
Launched in March 2015, Givling released an app for Apple and Android in December 2016, and now says it’s seeing its user base rapidly growing.
“We’re taking off; we’re just overwhelmed,” Givling founder Lizbeth Pratt told Business Insider.
So far, Givling players seem to be excited about the chance to have their loans paid off.