Stacie Whisonant

Founder & CEO of Pay Your Tuition Funds

Stacie is the Founder and CEO of a FinTech startup called Pay Your Tuition Funds in Washington, D.C. PYT Funds focuses on providing students with the opportunity to utilize crowd-giving and alternative data to reduce the burden of student loan debt. By using a financial technology platform to help families meet the growing funding gap to pay for higher education, PYT Funds is considered a disruptor to the finance industry and an innovative solution to the country’s student loan crisis. Stacie is a chosen fellow of the prestigious Halcyon Incubator program in D.C with PYT Funds as a notable winner at the Partnership Fund of New York City FinTech Innovation Lab in 2015.

Stacie has not always been battling the $1.2 trillion national student debt crisis. Native to Virginia, she has more than 13 years of experience in the finance and banking industries with a background in mortgages, structured settlements and annuities where she worked for the specialty finance company Stone Street Capital, and also for HSBC, the world’s largest international banking and financial services organization. Stacie received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Management from Longwood University, and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, where she continues her service to mankind through community service projects. Stacie is also a military veteran, having served eight years as a United States Army Reservist. Lastly, Stacie likes to spend her free time with family, traveling, keeping up on the latest technologies and playing UNO.

Connect with Stacie on Twitter & Instagram. Follow Pay Your Tuition on Twitter & Instagram.

1. What’s a challenge you’ve faced, and how did you get through it?

As I stumbled across the problem of helping students pay for the last amount of money they need to graduate from college, I have found that the private lending space is not built to help the families that really need access to gap funding. The traditional 700 credit score model does not work for first-generation students. I built a platform to attract families saying I can help them based on my relationship with the bank. After I got so many people to reach out to me and want our product, the bank still does the same thing, turn them down. So I am working through getting my own funds to lend vs relying on the bank.

2. What’s something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?

I am proud everyday that I have lasted this long in the start up space and that I’m steadily growing and building. Pay Your Tuition is my first company and I am really proud of what I have learned this far.

3. What’s something that’s been on your mind as we enter Black History Month?

I’m always thinking about what I can do to help close the wealth gap within our community. It’s annoyingly cliche at this point, but it’s also real. So many issues stem from lack of money and if we could get to a place where our communities can be lifted, I often think will this really be a solution. (Or will it be a new set of problems?)

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