If you received a letter in the mail that claimed an online game could help you pay off your student loan, you would probably shred it or throw it in the trash assuming it was a scam. Believe it or not, there really is an effort to address at least some of the nation’s $1.2+ trillion in student debt by playing a game.
The online site Givling represents a unique attempt to address the student loan issue — in essence, it is crowdfunding in the context of a game. The students to be helped risk nothing in the effort; they simply have to apply to Givling to be placed on a wait-list for assistance. As of this writing, forty student loan holders have signed up for the list, with debts ranging from $11,000 up to $97,000. To sign up for the next queue, you must monitor the Givling Facebook page for the next open call for loan submissions.
As for the game itself, it is a simple trivia game. Players are allowed one free play every 24 hours and each round costs 50 cents through the purchase of a Givling “coin”, along with a 30-cent transaction fee. You can buy as many coins as you want during a single transaction to reduce the fee to an effective 50 cents per game. If you like, you can use an avatar to represent you in the game.
Players are divided up into random teams of three each day to participate in a trivia game with true or false questions in a variety of subjects. Each team answers questions until they get three wrong answers, which knocks them out of the game. The winning team for the day receives a daily prize, which is shown at the top of the Givling website page. The amount changes daily; on a recent day the listed prize was $300.
The incoming funds are applied toward a $10 million pot known as a Givling. When the $10 million mark is reached, $5 million will go toward paying off the student loans in the queue as well as the accompanying taxes for the payoffs. $1 million is applied toward the future daily cash prizes, and the remaining $4 million is split by the top three finishers in the previous 24-hour period (game periods begin and end at 12 noon EST).
A funding progress bar on the landing page tracks the percentage of completion to the $10 million goal. Logically, interest in the game should rise dramatically as the funding goal approaches and a prize in the million-dollar range becomes possible.
If you decide to play Givling, check to see if the laws in your state allow you to accept the cash prizes. At this point, 23 states do not allow acceptance of cash prizes, although your student loan can still be paid off by Givling if you live there. Check out Givling’s FAQ page for more details. Remember that Givling winnings are taxable and will be reported to the IRS. Do not forget to include these winnings in your taxable income.
Givling is unlikely to wipe out a significant amount of student debt — and has a decent chance of not making any dent in it at all. However, we applaud the effort to address student debt in a creative way. If somebody can create a similar app to reduce college costs at the same time, then we would be well on the way to addressing the real problem.