SafeStart, a new company owned by BridgeSpan Financial, aims to reduce the fear of debt that might keep 18-year-olds from borrowing money for college, reports the New York Times. SafeStart charges $40 to $70 for every $1,000 a student borrows. In exchange, it promises to lend customers money interest-free later on to pay back some of those loans. You get the money only if you’re having trouble paying back your loans in your first years in the workplace because your income is too low. Students and parents might pony up for such an offering, and schools or lenders might pay for it, too. But its highest and best use might be for alumni who’ve paid their own loans back and now want to throw the rope back for others by buying SafeStart coverage for current students. The service is available only for federal Stafford student loans; the company hopes to cover other student loans eventually. Upon graduation, a 60-month period begins. During that time, if SafeStart customers’ total monthly loan payments rise above 10 percent of their income, they can access the interest-free line of credit. The idea is to help customers avoid paying their student loans late, which would damage their credit…

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