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GradRight: Ethics, Data and Transparency could drive international student recruitment

GradRight is the world’s first ed-fin-tech platform that brings together students, universities, and banks to create an efficient and transparent ecosystem for all stakeholders.

Photo: GradRight

"At the heart of the product lies an innovative, data-science-based matching algorithm"

The platform enables targeted outreach and recruitment for universities and better college selection and financing for students. GradRight’s core team has been instrumental in setting up innovative universities in India and the platform reflects their collective experience in building higher-ed institutions while being cognisant of the challenges students face in pursuing their dream education.

Launched in December 2020, GradRight’s FundRight has already transformed the education loan process in India. The platform’s 11 lenders compete to offer their best loans up to USD$150,000 to students. With GradRight’s FundRight, students have saved $1.5 million in interest expense to date in a completely online process.

“We are making higher education financing more accessible,” the company says. “80% of our students come from 2000 plus, Tier 2 and 3 cities of India with limited access to education loan options.

“We have increased the chances of securing a loan by 500% by bringing all the top education loan providers on one platform. With GradRight students are choosers and not beggars for financing their higher education.”

Following the success of FundRight, GradRight is launching SelectRight. In March, 2021 HSBC and the Ministry of Electronics and IT, government of India judged the twin-platforms as the most innovative platform in the higher education sector of India. SelectRight is a dream come true for admissions offices of universities.

The platform creates an ethical bridge between universities and millions of Indian students seeking higher education abroad. A suite of engagement tools enables universities to directly engage with and invite candidates that are well-matched to their unique and desired cohort profile.

This cuts down up to 30-40% of their outreach, lead acquisition, marketing, and admission management costs in finding, engaging, and sifting through a huge pile of unqualified leads or poorly matched applicants. The platform goes a step further to allow universities early and real-time visibility of matched candidates to dynamically control their cohort formation through each round of admissions.

“Universities are able to identify students who are unable to secure financing”

Combined with FundRight, the universities on the platform are able to identify students who are unable to secure financing and more efficiently target financial aid to high potential students.

At the heart of the product lies an innovative, data-science-based matching algorithm that uses over six million data points across 10,000 STEM and management programs at 700 institutions in six different countries to generate an unbiased choice set of programs that are ideally suited for a student’s unique profile and aspirations.

The platform questions the absoluteness and to a certain extent, the relevance of global ranking for selecting a college.

“While Oxford may be ranked 1 globally and may indeed be the most ideal for some students, for others it may be ranked lower in its overall suitability if a student considers the chance of admission, total cost of education, scholarships and match to expectations as ‘suitability’ for themselves,” we note.

SelectRight is distinctive in its student-centred approach by fully empowering them to choose and apply to a college.

It believes that every student’s background is unique and no single counsellor has the expertise to address this diversity of needs and aspirations. To address the need for customised high quality guidance, it offers a marketplace of current student-mentors or alumni of those programs that are uniquely matched to the aspirant.

“The platform questions, to a certain extent, the relevance of global ranking for selecting a college”

“In this decentralised, Uber of counsellors, aspirants can choose to talk to as many of the student-mentors for a fraction of a fee that they would typically pay for individual counselling and get first-hand account of what that program and college is like and also get their application for that program reviewed by them.

“The specificity of advice, convenience and cost-saving this will offer to the student is significant.”

SelectRight is free for students, disrupting the fee-driven advisory model that traditionally lacks transparency, provides limited choice and is often seen as predatory. By building detailed profiles on the platform, students benefit from the rich data and algorithms of SelectRight to eliminate mismatched choices.

The coming together of the key stakeholders removes information asymmetry, secures efficiencies and unlocks a lot of value for students, banks and universities. GradRight has ushered in a new era of organisation in the sector, at a global scale.

About the authors: This is a sponsored post from the GradRight team. Gradright is led by co-founders Aman Singh and Sashidhar Sista who have in-depth experience in setting up higher education institutions in India. Aman and Sasi were both part of the founding team of Ashoka University, a leading liberal arts and sciences university in India. Sasi went on to receive the prestigious Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship to pursue a Masters in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, Archita Jha joined the GradRight team where her focus is to develop institutional partnerships. Archita holds a Masters in International Educational Development from Columbia University and has worked at the US-India Educational Foundation and King’s College London.

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