Web launch offers access to untapped wealth

May 19, 2000

Students will be able to conduct international searches for scholarships and bursaries through a commercial website launched this week, writes Alison Goddard.

Iain Aitken, managing director of Freefund.com, the company behind the service, said: "There is a staggering amount of money that lies untouched that students can get their hands on.

"The majority of students and their parents have never considered applying for a scholarship or bursary. Many are not aware of their existence and do not know how to apply. In a recent mystery shopper exercise, we contacted 50 universities to find out how much they made available in scholarships and bursaries - not one was able to give us a definitive answer," he added.

By the end of May, students will be able to gain free access to the database of scholarships and bursaries compiled by Freefund.

In return they will be encouraged to register with the company, becoming members. By submitting a personal profile and an email address, students will receive information targeted to their specific interests. Freefund will also broker cheap deals for products and services targeted at its student membership.

Freefund is backed and partly owned by the Swedish venture capital company Speed Ventures, which is behind other bulk-purchasing internet companies such as Letsbuyit.com.

Freefund was launched in Sweden in January, where it has already enrolled 14.7 per cent of the student population. It aims to have more than 100,000 British students registered by December.

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