Easy Transfer offers a single channel for Chinese international students to pay tuition at U.S. schools.
Financing education abroad can result in a series of snags for students. Let's say you're a Chinese student trying to earn your MBA in the U.S. Paying tuition requires setting up a U.S. bank account, which requires paperwork and documents. Then add in the complication of acquiring money by international wire transfers. Also, don't forget that you may have only been in the new country for a short time, and you're learning a second language.
That's just the situation University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Michael Shang found himself in when he came to the U.S.
"When I came to Lincoln one of the first things I had to learn was how to receive and transfer money from China to the U.S.," Shang said in a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln profile. "It was difficult because I was in a totally unfamiliar environment and still learning how to communicate in English."
And with an increasing number of Chinese students studying in the U.S., Shang saw an opportunity. With the help of professors and leaders in the Lincoln entrepreneur community, he created Easy Transfer. It provides a single channel that international students can use to pay their tuition. Users set up accounts with Easy Transfer, who partners with Chinese and American banks. Then families can pay tuition directly to universities instead of using a complex system of financial transfers. The company charges a service fee to students for the transaction.
Easy Transfer only serves Chinese students studying in America. Shang has moved back to Beijing, and will expand the business to help Chinese students travel to universities throughout Asia. Eventually, the startup hopes to help American students travel to China.
U.S. operations director Randy Bretz met Shang through "digital friends" in the Lincoln startup community. With a background in electronic data processing, he was able to help Shang develop his idea. Another partner and UNL international student, Tony Gao, brought banking knowledge to the table.
"People are global citizens and I think helping students with their tuition helps others become global citizens," Bretz told Silicon Prairie News.
Easy Transfer is currently developing relationships with banks in the U.S. to expand its coverage.