The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s "reverse scholarship," also referred to as “Startup Stipend Program,” helps graduating seniors pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity without the anxiety of student loan debt. If you are passionate about starting a company, but your fear of student debt is pushing you to “find a job” instead, the Georgetown Startup Stipend might be for you.
The stipend is different from a traditional scholarship because it is actually a periodic stipend designed to provide graduating students the ability to make student debt payments. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting a job in order to pay off your student loan debt!
According to Forbes, nationwide student loan debt has reached an all-time high of $1.2 trillion, with the average balance increasing from $23,000 to $29,000 in 2014. 40 million Americans have at least one outstanding student loan.
Many recent Georgetown students have told us they would love to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity, but could not do so because of the substantial burden of student loan debt. Dane Stangler, E.J. Reedy, and Arnobio Morelix of the Kauffman Foundation recently wrote that student debt is likely a major reason why fewer young people are starting companies today. This program is intended to begin solving that problem for Georgetown entrepreneurs.
How Does it Work?
The Startup Stipend is only available to current undergraduate seniors. Unfortunately, we do not have funding available for graduate students.
Interested students can apply at any time using the link on this page. Applicants will be asked to supply information regarding their startup plans and their student loan debt.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the school year, and applicants will be notified as soon as a decision is made.
Each chosen recipient will receive a stipend commensurate to the amount of debt payments they would be making through periodic payments after graduation. As long as the recipient continues to work on their startup, the payments will continue up to a maximum of two years after graduation.
This program is NOT intended to pay ALL of a recipient’s student debt, but simply to provide enough funding to cover the regular monthly loan payments for up to two years – and thus eliminate one significant source of startup-related anxiety.
Recipients will be required to report periodically on their status. If, at any time, the recipient is no longer working on a startup, or no longer has student loan debt, no further stipend payments will be made. At no point is the recipient required to repay the “scholarship,” and the university does NOT take equity in the startup.
There are plenty of other challenges with being an entrepreneur, and we realize some of these startups will fail. Our primary goal is to remove student debt as an obstacle to the student’s ability to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
In addition to the financial assistance, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative will also provide services such as mentoring, programming, networking opportunities, among others to ensure the recipient is never alone during the process of starting a company.
(Please note that Georgetown has limited funding dedicated to this program, so not every eligible student can be selected. It is also the case that many graduates can select different payment plans from their lender, and Georgetown may offer recipients a stipend based on a lower monthly payment. Some who are selected may be offered partial payment. If you are selected, you will be told the amount of funding offered to you.)