In a time of economic difficulty, Jennifer Taylor of Riverside is finding creative ways to help college students pay off their loans.

“We started about eight months ago, and the more I read, the more I’m inspired to help,” said Taylor. “It’s hard for these kids, and I just feel like Lily’s is part of the solution.”

Taylor and three friends have launched Lily’s List (, a Web site where students can register to receive gift donations to ease the burden of their student loans.

“Lily’s List should really be a win-win for both students and us,” said Beverly Gordon, the site’s marketing director. “We want students to know they have another tool out there.”

Named after Taylor’s daughter, who was her mother’s inspiration for wanting to help students, Lily’s List operates rather simply. Students registering on the site create a profile, sharing information they are comfortable with, send a copy of their loan statement with account number and payment address and pay a $15 fee for one year’s membership.

After the profile is created and all loan info is verified, the students indicate a target goal of donations they would like to receive.

“This could be really amazing in terms of the possibilities,” said Gordon. “It’s also very psychologically empowering for students, and it’s not just for college kids. We’ll be appealing to graduate students who are in the dilemma of pursuing a career and paying loans at the same time.”

Lily’s List is not a nonprofit organization or charity. Donations are not tax-deductible, as they are considered a gift to the student. Taylor stated that one difficulty the company has experienced is that students often don’t have copies of their loan statements, their parents do.

Gordon said that with graduation season approaching, friends and relatives giving graduates a gift might consider Lily’s List a viable alternative to cash.

“Rather than simply giving cash to the student, and most graduates I’ve met don’t know where their graduation money went, people can make a contribution toward their loans. If you want to be significantly helpful to that kid, at a significant time, Lily’s can be a benefit,” she said.

Gordon added that others can suggest making donations to the account in lieu of gifts for themselves. Grandparents, for example, can suggest that instead of another anniversary gift, friends can donate to Lily’s List to help their grandchild pay off their loans.

Launched just recently, the Web site is slowly gaining clients, as of mid-March they business had 11 registered members. They are providing launch promotions to help bolster membership, Gordon said.

“I feel really committed to help students,” said Taylor. “First we need numbers, then we get a reputation and gain advertisements. We’d ultimately like to use the advertising profits to help the students by putting money into their accounts.”

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