April 13, 2009 at 10:03 am | | grad life, stipends

scmf-thumbI’ve started the Stanford Chemistry Microloan Fund.

With fees increasing and stipends not growing, it seems that now is a perfect time to add a safety net.

The concept is simple: contribute a small amount to the fund, then you have the opportunity to borrow interest-free. The idea is to help each other when we need a little cash between paychecks. When Stanford decides to raise fees by an order of magnitude. When we have to pay for conferences and airfare with our own credit cards, and hope we get reimbursed before our next payment is due. When living paycheck-to-paycheck gets a little nerve-racking.

Currently, SCMF is open to all graduate students in the Stanford Department of Chemistry, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis. By keeping contributions and loans within the immediate community, I hope to maintain trust and transparency. (Of course, if someone outside the community wishes to donate to the fund, I’d be more than happy to take their donation.)

I’ll let you all know how it goes. So far, we have a handful of contributors, and a couple hundred in the “bank.” With several more small contributions, and some large ones from some angel investors (e.g. grad students married to someone with a real job), we should have a fund.

If it works out, I’ll suggest you start something similar at your own school.

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