The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 21, 2014

Student hopes to use graduation cap to cut debt


Associated Press

- — FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A University of Michigan-Flint student hopes to use his graduation cap to take a bite out of his education debt.

Alex Benda of St. Clair tells the Detroit Free Press he wants to cash in on the 10-by-10-inch hat by selling ad space in 1-inch squares on top for $300 each. If he sells 100 squares, he'll have wiped out his about $30,000 in student loans, he said.

"I realized that I would have the eyes of every graduating student and their family's on me as I walked across the stage to accept my diploma," he wrote on his website. "You can advertise on it, give a shout out, put a quote, a silly image of your cat, practically anything! All while helping a graduating college student start his life without student debt."

The 22-year-old international business major is scheduled to graduate in a few months. He says it's "scary" to think about trying to find a job while having so much debt.

As of midday Monday, he had raised more than $1,200 online from 12 backers — but no square buyers had yet to make a pledge.

"I have gained so much from my education that I hope to help others with their goal of going to college, but right now I appreciate any help," he said in his posting. "I graduate May 4th so time is running out!