I would consider myself a failure if I could not do this…
And I am so, so happy as I write this mail to you with a great news. I will sleep better tonight.
I studied law at NUJS. My annual fee was more than what my parents could pay from their pockets. I could only go to law school because I got a loan from SBI.
I still remember how much of a hassle it was. At the first instance, my loan application was rejected because they didn’t think after going to NUJS I will be able to pay back 3 lakhs plus interest to them. No wonder, they had not heard of national law universities back in 2005.
So I was a topper in the entrance, and still it looked like I will not be able to go to NUJS. I was heartbroken.
My mother pulled some miracle thereafter. She called up some friends, colleagues and others who gave us some leads. Finally, she went and spoke to a very senior officer at SBI who was sensible enough to understand the situation and got my loan sanctioned.
My grateful mother still buys life insurance for our whole family from the resourceful LIC agent who made that connection happen. And of course, I was able to pay back the entire loan within 5 months of graduation.
The student body of my alma mater NUJS later published a very flattering piece about me here in their Entrepreneurs from NUJS series, where I talked about the real value that the NUJS education provided to me.
Still, even though I was a topper in that law entrance exam, and definitely had the merit to go to a top law school, this education that changed my life would have been totally unavailable to me if not for an education loan.
Education loan should be a right for everyone who wants to learn. Unfortunately, it is not.
So I am acutely aware that perhaps I myself, in my teens and early twenties, would not have been able to afford the courses LawSikho is selling today. I remember a time when my monthly pocket money was Rs. 300, and I was in first year of college. I used think ten times even before buying a phone recharge. How could I afford the kind of course we sell at LawSikho?
We try to give some scholarships (we recently reached an understanding with IDIA, an organisation I am proud to have contributed to setting up in its early days, to give our courses to two IDIA scholars every month), but we are a small company with limited means.
Our courses are on the expensive side because we believe it is better to charge the price and then deliver more value rather than selling courses cheap and then failing to deliver results. Indiavidual feedback, creating great and unique content, providing terrific customer support, top notch software, recruitment and internship assistance, hiring experts for live classes, everything costs money. Lots of money. Good things don’t come cheap.
We have a 4 people tech team, 5 people course R&D team, 3 people handling customer support, 2 people in sales, 1 in marketing, 4 in course administration, 1 in finance, 1 in admin, and 2 people in management as of today.
As the number of students and assignments with corporates increase, we are also feeling increasingly overburdened and must hire more good people into our teams rapidly to meet the demand.
If I have to pay everyone fairly, I leave it to your imagination the cost of running the organization.
That’s just the people cost. There are a lot of other costs too. Just to give you an idea, we also have to spend about 2 lakhs on off the shelf software every month such as plagiarism check software, email client, CRM software, google suite (can’t use pirated software if you want to run a conscientious business), video editing software, cloud storage, AWS and more.
If we reduce prices, then we will have to cut corners. Instead of delivering great value to everyone who takes our courses, we will have to offer courses like most of our competitors do. Cheap and of little use. Cutting price is not the solution.
So how can I make these courses we poured our heart and soul into, available, to people like who I was in my teens and early twenties, till I learnt how to earn?
The obvious answer is education loan. However, I tried many times in the last 5 years, unsuccessfully, to convince a bank or NBFC to extend education loan to our students. Education loan for online courses? What a joke. Nobody entertained us.
We went to government banks, we went to private banks, we went to non-banking finance companies – everyone turned us away.
But I did not give up. There had to be someone out there who would see the value of our courses and trust our students with an education loan. My colleagues gave up. But my search never stopped despite many disappointments.
So recently I asked for advice on this in a whatsapp group I am part of. It consists of some amazing entrepreneurs and successful founders. I am copy pasting the conversation below.
And someone gave me a lead. Jaideep, another lawyer and founder of a tech startup is to be credited for this.
I followed up. And I found NIRA Finance.
It’s a finance company which is willing to give education loan to students who take any course from LawSikho.com at a reasonable interest rate. You can get a 6 months or 12 months EMI option from them. If your education loan is approved, the finance company will pay the money to us. We will immediately give you access to the course.
Then you can pay them back over the next 6 or 12 months in equalized monthly installments (EMI).
I am attaching the MoU we signed with them for this purpose for full transparency. Please note that we are not responsible for their actions, nor are we endorsing them in any way that you should take a loan from them. You need to do your own research, read carefully through their term and conditions, understand everything and make up your mind whether you want to take the loan.
So here is the deal, if you are interested, then visit NIRA Finance website, if necessary then call them and understand all the terms and conditions, pros and cons, and then if you want to take a loan from them, just let us know the same by replying to this email. We will inform NIRA that you want to take a loan for our course, and they will prioritize your application.
You can also take an independent loan from them directly and pay us from your bank account. That’s entirely up to you then, and in that case we will have no involvement.
However, we are going to do this only upto the 9th of March. All those who want to benefit from this education loan scheme, make sure you contact us by replying to this email before 9th March. After 9th, we will stop processing these applications. You may be still able to get a personal loan directly from NIRA, but that’s entirely up to you. We can’t promise anything.
Also, note that everyone may not be eligible for this education loan. NIRA Finance has communicated certain criteria to us. Here are some documents they want to see before approving a loan. Here is what they communicated to us:
For a customer to eligible for credit, they must satisfy the following criteria:
- Be working at least 6 months
- Have a net salary of at least Rs. 15k per month
- We don’t require an applicant to have a CIBIL score, but if they do have one, then it needs to be 671 or better.
If the course participant doesn’t meet these criteria, then we can consider underwriting a family member who will then be required to make the EMI payments.
Documents required for the loan are:
- Aadhaar Card
- PAN Card
- 3 months Bank Statements
- Most recent payslip
Below is what the mentioned EMIs would look like:
Loan Amount 6m 12m
23600 4,213.21 2,231.61
18000 3,213.46 1,702.07
10000 1,785.26 945.60
In addition, there would be a one-time processing fee of Rs 500 involved as well (charged by NIRA, we have no benefit or interest in any of these apart from our course fee).
If you do not qualify, you may have a family member or friend who may qualify under the above criteria. In that case, apply in their name (with their consent of course).
Remember that if you pay through this education loan option, you cannot avail the part payment option provided by LawSikho (as applicable to diploma courses).
In case you are interested in the loan, please mail the following to us on [email protected]
Name of course:
Your full name:
Which batch you want to join:
So, yeah, I will sleep a little better tonight because now I know those could not afford these courses earlier can still avail of these now, thanks to this education loan from NIRA.
If you know any other finance companies who will help our students in a similar way, please get in touch with me.
Courses for which you can enroll are:
- Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws
- Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
- Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions)
- Diploma in Companies Act, Corporate Governance and SEBI Regulations
- Diploma in Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment laws
- Diploma in Cyber Law, Fintech Regulations and Technology contracts
Executive Certificate Courses
- Certificate Course in Advanced Civil Litigation: Practice, Procedure, and Drafting
- Certificate course in Advanced Criminal Litigation & Trial Advocacy
- Certificate Course in Advanced Corporate Taxation
- Certificate Course in Real Estate Laws
- Certificate Course in Arbitration: Strategy, Procedure and Drafting
- Certificate course in Companies Act
- Certificate course in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code