Frequently Asked Questions
- What does the word Janta mean?
- What does Janta do?
- How can I invest in a student's education?
- What kind of students can I invest in?
- What happens if a student isn't fully funded when time runs out?
- What does 'Beta' (next to the site logo) mean?
- What portion of my loan funds go to the actual student?
- Is my loan to a student tax deductible?
- Will I earn interest on my loan?
- What are the risks of lending?
- What is the default rate for education microloans?
- Why do you encourage gifts? Aren't microloans enough?
- What portion of my gift funds go to the actual student?
- Is my gift to a student tax deductible?
- Can I make a loan or gift to an overseas relative?
- Is my donation to Janta tax deductible?
- How do I contact Janta?
- How do you prevent fraud & corruption
- What are donations to Janta used for?
Janta is a Hindi word (जनता) for people, or the public. We enable people like you to invest directly in real students through our person-to-person (or peer-to-peer) website.
We empower you to invest in an actual student by funding her education microloan or scholarship. The students on our website are all real children, youth, or adults who want to invest in their own education. 100% of your investment goes directly to educate the specific student you choose, rather than to a regional or global program that indirectly benefits the student. By investing in a student, you can help her and her family escape poverty.
You may invest in a student through a loan or a gift. Your support will make a huge impact in the student's life, enabling her to complete her education and increase her lifetime earnings. Whether you choose a loan or a gift, the student will be expected to provide academic progress reports to you via our field partners. Your gift will not be repaid to you, but unlike loans, it is tax-deductible thanks to the support of the Namaste Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization.
- Lend: By lending to a student, you can help fund her education loan. When the loan is repaid, you get your money back and can choose to re-lend it, donate it, or withdraw it. Lending is a really low-cost way of helping a student get educated since it costs you, the lender, next to nothing if she repays her education loan.
- Give: By making a gift to a student, you can help fund either a scholarship or an education loan for the student. The student's page will clearly indicate whether your gift will be used to fund a loan or scholarship. Unlike loans, your gifts will not be repaid to you, but your gifts are tax-deductible thanks to the support of the Namaste Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization.
In addition, you may help support our work by volunteering or making a donation to our organization.
Our initial focus is on students in the developing world who need your help to earn a basic education. We hope to create incentives to:
- encourage out-of-school children to enroll in school
- encourage students to continue on to the next level, particularly since most dropouts occur during school transitions (e.g., assisting primary school graduates continue on to a secondary school)
- encourage students to access a better education (e.g., enroll in a higher quality school)
We do not directly restrict the type of education available to our students, although we do encourage our field partners to focus on high need student populations who need financing for:
- secondary school
- vocational training
- primary school
- Extend the time allowed for fundraising if the student's course dates allow,
- Offer the student a partial microloan or scholarship with the funds already raised if s/he can continue her education with the partial amount (possibly at another school), or
- Offer to refund your loan or gift if the partial amount we have raised is not enough for the student to continue in school.
Beta indicates that the website, and our associated service, is an early version which is still being tested and improved, so you will probably encounter some problems. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your patience, and please send feedback about any problems you experience to email@example.com.
100% of the money you lend to a student goes directly to that specific student as a loan. For minor children, the money is lent to the parent or guardian.
No. Your loan is not tax deductible because we expect it will be repaid. However, if your loan is not repaid in full, you may consult your tax adviser to determine if it can be claimed as a tax-deductible loss.
If you prefer to make a tax-deductible gift rather than a loan, select the “give” option. These gifts will go to the student the same as loans, but upon repayment they will not be returned to you. Instead, they will be recycled to fund interest rate subsidies and scholarships.
No. You will not earn any interest on your loan.
When lending to these high-need students, you assume the potential risk that all or part of your loan may not be repaid to you due to student default, currency fluctuations, and a wide range of other potential problems. To minimize your individual risk, we recommend you not invest more than you can afford to lose and spread your investment across multiple students, multiple field partners, multiple regions, etc.
Default rates for traditional microfinance are often extremely low, often as low as 1%-2%, due to a variety of reasons like group guarantees. With younger clients and longer loan terms, education microloans are expected to have higher default rates than traditional microfinance. In addition, default rates are also expected to be higher for extremely poor clients who are typically excluded from traditional microfinance. We try to balance our goal of reaching high-need students with our desire to maximize repayment rates.
We will gather data from the field and publish it on our website over time to help you evaluate default rates for various regions and field partners.
We encourage you to invest in students through gifts in order to:
- Make Microloans More Affordable: Interest charges for microloans are usually quite high compared to bank loans, often exceeding 20% or 30% per year. Your gifts help make education microloans more affordable to students by subsidizing interest rates.
- Make Scholarships Possible: Microloans are not suitable for all students. Many students need scholarships in order to receive an education, specially the poorest of the poor. Your gifts can make scholarships possible for deserving students.
- Allow for Tax Deductibility: Unlike loans, your gifts are eligible for tax-deductions thanks to the support of the Namaste Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization.
In the future, we also hope to make it possible to invest in students with funds from your charitable giving account or your employer's matching donations. At this time, however, only selected donations to our organization (rather than directly to students) are eligible for funding from charitable giving accounts or for employer matching contributions through our collaboration with the Namaste Foundation. For more information about matching contributions or charitable giving accounts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may make a tax-deductible gift to a student seeking a microloan or a scholarship:
- Gifts for microloans: 100% of your gift made toward a microloan will go directly to the student as a loan. When the loan is repaid, the funds will be recycled to fund scholarships and interest rate subsidies for microloans.
- Gifts for scholarships: 100% of your gift to support a scholarship will go directly to the specific student (or her parent, guardian, or school), unless stated otherwise on a student's page.
While gifts are tax-deductible, loans are not.
No. You may not lend or give to a relative or a business associate through our website.
Yes. Your donations supporting Janta's students are tax deductible in the US due to the support of the Namaste Foundation, an IRS 501c3 charity. Janta Foundation is currently in the process of applying for its own 501c3 status.
Contact us via email at email@example.com. Our mailing address is Janta Foundation, 1728 Ocean Avenue #1001, San Francisco, CA 94112.
We believe that the best way to prevent fraud and corruption is through transparency and monitoring. Our peer-to-peer model is designed so investors can assess and monitor the reliability of Janta, our field partners, and individual students.
Our field partners are reputable NGOs who have been strongly recommended to us by trusted advisers and have passed our own due diligence. We plan to publish actual performance metrics for our field partners on our website over time.
Donations to Janta are used to cover Janta's operating costs and to cover the cost of administering scholarship programs. Your donations make it possible for us to deliver 100% of your loans and gifts directly to students.
We invite individual and institutional donors to make a tax-deductible seed gift of $10,000 or more to help us cover the costs of delivering scholarships to students through our field partners. Your seed gift will enable us to raise 5 to 10 times your contribution on our website, resulting in up to $100,000 of scholarships for students.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about making a seed gift.