Drew Cloud often advised people to refinance student loans, but he was a fiction created by a financial services company.
The mainstream news wants you to trust them on student loans as well as every other topic. They claim to be accurate and careful while the internet is full of Russian bots pushing fake news. But it turns out that an “expert” on student loans who has been quoted in The Washington Post and CNBC was a made-up creation of LendEDU, a company specializing in student loans.
The mainstream media is so quick to demean the alternative media but there is no reason to believe they are more reliable.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, “Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real.”
Drew Cloud is everywhere. The self-described journalist who specializes in student-loan debt has been quoted in major news outlets, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and CNBC, and is a fixture in the smaller, specialized blogosphere of student debt.
He’s always got the new data, featuring irresistible twists:
–One in five students use extra money from their student loans to buy digital currencies.
–Nearly 8 percent of students would move to North Korea to free themselves of their debt.
–Twenty-seven percent would contract the Zika virus to live debt-free.
All of those surveys came from Cloud’s website, The Student Loan Report.
Drew Cloud’s story was simple: He founded the website, an “independent, authoritative news outlet” covering all things student loans, “after he had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place.”
He became ubiquitous on that topic. But he’s a fiction, the invention of a student-loan refinancing company.
After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. “Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.
Before that admission, however, Cloud had corresponded at length with many journalists, pitching them stories and offering email interviews, many of which were published. When The Chronicle attempted to contact him through the address last week, Cloud said he was traveling and had limited access to his account. He didn’t respond to additional inquiries.
And on Monday, as The Chronicle continued to seek comment, Cloud suddenly evaporated. His once-prominent placement on The Student Loan Report had been removed. His bylines were replaced with “SLR Editor.” Matherson confirmed on Tuesday that Cloud was an invention.
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