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BEST AND BRIGHTEST: "Your GPA is an indicator of how focused and responsible you are, so it's a good indicator of your propensity to pay a loan back on time," says Upstart co-founder and Chief Executive Dave Girouard.

An Alternative Lender Whose Credit Reviews Are Academic

Peer-to-peer lender Upstart is aiming to identify young but high-quality borrowers by integrating applicants' grades, alma mater and even their SAT scores into its underwriting decisions. Banks could learn from this model, even though it may have shortcomings.

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