Fast loans from UAB Regional Institute for Financial Education are available in just 24 hours. You can help any Blazer student who is experiencing an unexpected loss of income, housing or medical issues, or a transportation emergency.
Written by Matt Windsor
Media contact: Savannah Koplon
University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s Regions Institute for Financial Education, or RIFE, helps every Blazer student fix a tire, pay rent, or deal with another emergency — with money available in just 24 hours and no interest charged when it is is repaid within 90 days.Microcredit from the
Escape the spiral
More and more students are struggling financially, says Stephanie Yates, Ph.D., director of the institute and creator of the program. Something as small as a flat tire can quickly become a school failure.
“Your car breaks down on the way to school, so you miss class,” Yates said. “You can’t come to work, so you miss shifts and suddenly you can’t pay rent. It all adds up. We thought, ‘If we could find a way to help a student get that hoop, it would prevent all these other things.’”
Yates spoke along Collat School of Business He and Dean Eric Jack, Ph.D., suggested a funding source: a $25,000 pot of money originally created to help college students after the deadly 2011 tornadoes. Yates’ students helped create the rules of the microcredit program:
- Get the money to those who need it most
- Keep a reserve ready so emergencies can always be met, and
- Provide flexibility in originating non-emergency loans.
Priority is given to genuine emergencies, including:
- loss of income
- transportation problems
- Housing questions or difficult life situations
- medical expenses
“It’s very helpful for students who have a gap between the start of the semester and the arrival of their financial aid,” Yates said. “The vast majority of loans are repaid within 90 days and very few students have paid interest. This is not a pitfall.”
The interest rate is 6 percent starting on the 91st day. In fact, the goal is to offer an alternative to payday loans, title loans, and pawn shops.
Members of the student-run Green & Gold Fund have written an investment policy to grow the fund’s capital while remaining safe. They also sit on the Loans Committee (all identifying information about fellow students is removed).
The goal is “to have this resource available for a long time,” said Jackie Dang, a finance major and member of the Green & Gold Fund, which is a portfolio manager of RIFE. “It was a meaningful experience knowing that I am part of an organization that is doing what we can to help UAB students.”
This is open to all UAB students. Any UAB student can do this Apply for microcredit, Yates said, “We’re trying very hard to make it as quick and painless as possible.”