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This Hotel Chain Wants to Help Pay Your Student Loan Debt

By Sarah Buder

Aug 22, 2019

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Graduate Hotels, a boutique chain that specializes in U.S. college town settings, was launched in 2014 by Ben Weprin (a member of AFAR’s Travel Vanguard 2016).

Courtesy of Graduate Hotels

Graduate Hotels, a boutique chain that specializes in U.S. college town settings, was launched in 2014 by Ben Weprin (a member of AFAR’s Travel Vanguard 2016).

Graduate Hotels, a boutique collection of properties centered in U.S. college towns, is teaming up with scholarship search app Scholly to raise funds providing relief for student and alumni debt.

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More than 44 million people in the United States owe student loan debts that amount to $1.56 trillion collectively, according to statistics published by the online platform Student Loan Hero in February 2019. The same study shows that student loan debt is now the country’s second highest consumer debt category, following just behind mortgage debt and surpassing total credit card payments owed by about $521 billion.

As policymakers and universities (both public and private) consider approaches to tackling the student load debt crisis, one U.S. hotel chain is entering the conversation with its own innovative approach. 

Each Graduate Hotels property pays homage to the heritage of its location through design elements featuring cultural nods to the local community.
Graduate Hotels, a collection of boutique properties based in college towns across the United States, has pledged to fund-raise upwards of $150,000 to help support student and alumni debt relief. Dubbed the “$150K Payoff,” the initiative is in partnership with scholarship search app Scholly, which received national attention in 2015 after landing a deal on ABC’s Shark Tank (and has helped students earn over $100 million in scholarships to date).

Beginning September 1 through December 31, 2019, various properties from the Graduate Hotels collection will host a range of fundraising efforts within their respective communities, all U.S. towns and cities home to universities—among them Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Providence, Madison, Seattle, and Minneapolis. 

Charming College Towns With Off-Campus Appeal

From a Live Jazz & Blues Brunch to a rooftop Halloween party and a Pure Barre class followed by a “bagel and mimosa brunch,” individual events from September through December will be listed on each property’s Facebook page, with tickets available for purchase through Eventbrite. All Graduate Hotels fund-raising events will be open for guests, locals, and students to attend.

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Guests will have the option to donate to the cause upon checkout at any of the collection’s properties—each of which pays homage to its specific university town location through curated design and decor inspired by the area’s heritage. (There are currently 16 operating Graduate Hotels properties in the United States. Seven more U.S. locations are set to open before year end, with nine slated to debut in 2020.)

All properties in the Graduate Hotels collection are located in university-anchored towns including Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Providence, Madison, Bloomington, and more.
According to a statement from both companies, the collaboration is “an effort to tackle the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education, one student at a time.” Proceeds from the Graduate Hotels and Scholly initiative will be awarded to three winning applicants, each of whom will receive $50,000 to be allocated towards college tuition or existing student loan debt. 

Individuals over 18 years of age who have an outstanding balance on a federal or private student loan or who are enrolled at an accredited institution as an undergraduate or graduate may apply to win online at myscholly.com/graduatehotels. (This includes high school students registered to attend college in the 2019–2020 academic year.) Applications are currently being accepted through October 31 at 11:59 p.m. (PST).

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