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Student Loan Hero CEO on how his view of student loans has changed



Andrew Josuweit Student Loan Hero
Student Loan Hero founder
and CEO Andy Josuweit.

Courtesy of
Andrew Josuweit

  • Student Loan Hero, a personal-finance site, was
    acquired last week by LendingTree for $60 million.
  • In the years since launching his business, CEO Andy
    Josuweit has changed his view on the student-loan industry, and
    realized that not everyone can pay off their loans at the same
  • Millions of college students depend on student loans to
    attain a higher education, leading Josuweit to call them “a net
    positive on our society.”

When Andy Josuweit founded the personal-finance site Student Loan Hero in 2012, he
was struggling to pay off more than $100,000 in student-loan

In the early days of his business, Josuweit made several
sacrifices to pay off his loans: He worked 14-hour days, he
didn’t own a car, and he even moved to Texas to lower the amount
he had to pay in taxes before finally becoming debt-free in 2016.

Last week,
Student Loan Hero was acquired
by LendingTree for $60
million. In an interview with Business Insider, Josuweit
reflected on how his view of the student-loan industry has
changed since launching his business.

One of the biggest changes for him was recognizing that many of
his clients didn’t share his financial background and had
different trajectories for paying off their loans.

“I treated my debt like it was a sprint, and got out as quickly
as possible,” he told Business Insider. “I encourage others to do
that, but I realize it’s not possible for everyone.”

“Some people want to start a family, some people want to buy a
house. With paying off student loan debt, you need different
approaches based on your goals and your financial capabilities
and position. There are a lot of variables. In the beginning I
thought it was a lot more straightforward than that.”

Today, Student Loan Hero offers users financial comparison tools
and personalized advice for paying off student loans, rather than
taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Josuweit said he’s also softened his stance on student loans in
general: Where he once saw them as predatory, he now considers
them a valuable tool when used wisely.

What turned the tide for him was a conference he attended about
the importance of increasing access to financial aid for
disadvantaged students.

“I am a white, middle-class male, and I have access to a lot of
things a lot of other people don’t,” Josuweit said. “My view
going into that conference is there is too much student loan debt
and people shouldn’t be able to get in these situations.”

But for millions of college students, student loans are their
only hope of attending college — something Josuweit realized had
more of an impact than he had thought.

“Getting a higher education is one of the most important things
to improve your income potential and create job stability. I was
looking at it from a selfish perspective,” he said. “Overall,
with student loans, there are some predatory things that happen,
but they are a net positive on our society. We have to create
better controls and safeguards to protect consumers.”

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