Student hopes to use graduation cap to cut debt - WNEM TV 5

Student hopes to use graduation cap to cut debt

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FLINT, MI (WNEM/AP) -

A University of Michigan-Flint student hopes to use his graduation cap to take a bite out of his education debt.

Alex Benda of St. Clair says he wants to cash in on the 10-inch by 10-inch hat by selling ad space in 1-inch squares on top. He says if he's able to sell 100 squares he'll have wiped out his about $30,000 in student loans.

"When I walk up to get my diploma, I'll be the center of attention for just a moment. I thought I could maybe capitalize on that and help myself out but also help companies get their message across," said Benda.

The 22-year-old international business major is scheduled to graduate in a few months. He's been working as a photographer to help pay his tuition, but still has a lot of student loans to take care of. Benda says it's "scary" to think about trying to find a job while having so much debt.

"I'm going to be paying off loans for more years than I went to college for. I was just hoping to see if it's a way anyone could help me," said Benda.

Whether or not he meets his financial goal, Benda says this project is giving him something that money can't buy, the confidence to step out on a limb and try new ideas.

"This is what I like doing, thinking no one has ever done it before, so let's try it," said Benda.

As of midday Monday, he's raised more than $1,200 online from 12 backers -- but no square buyers had yet to make a pledge.

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Online:

Benda's fundraising page: http://bit.ly/1bd5HxB

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