EDURain: your one-stop-shop for off-campus housing
EDURain is an off-campus housing marketplace and financial empowerment tool. It was founded in 2020 by Bryon Pierson, Arron Zheng, and Adam Knox-Warshaw with the goal of making college more accessible to underserved students. “We are the most unlikely team to ever build a company ever,” Pierson said. Pierson himself is an LGBTQ Black man who ran away from home at fifteen and put himself into foster care. Only 4% of foster care children go to college and only 44% get highschool diplomas. He continued, “Those demographics have created a unique environment where true innovation and work is able to happen.”
EDURain started out as a tool to make filing FAFSA simpler and faster, but as the company explored the higher education space, they realized that about half of all student debt comes from housing. The co-founders decided to focus on helping students find off-campus housing. According to Zheng, on-campus housing tends to be more expensive and students tend to pay for on-campus housing because they are unfamiliar with alternative options.
EDURain is focused on helping students graduate debt free. “We come from student support first,” Pierson said. “We brought that with us and that is something that is unmatched in student rental spaces.”
EDURain is free to access. It provides a one-stop platform for finding properties around campus, roommates, renter’s insurance, a credit-building service to increase your credit score, as well as a scholarship search database. It is also a hub of information on living off-campus and financial advice for college students.
EDURain’s housing tool is very simple to use. You can use it without an account, but creating one takes less than five minutes and allows you to save properties and participate in EDURain’s integrated roommate search. You can see for each property if someone is looking for a roommate and connect with that person. Or, you can indicate if you are looking for a roommate on the property listing itself. Having an account also allows you to fill out a questionnaire to find scholarships specifically geared towards you!
To find a property, you simply have to select your state and school, which will bring up apartment listings from around campus with virtual tours available for nearly every listing. On EDURain, you know landlords are student friendly. If you know of a landlord who could be interested in participating, you can refer them to edurain.org. Landlords benefit from partnering with EDURain by having student renters that are more informed and are incentivized to pay rent on time through EDURain’s credit-building service.
On Nov. 6, EDURain’s credit-building service, which allows students to report their on-time rent payments in order to increase their credit score, is set to become active in the next two weeks. Currently, you can pre-register at edurain.org/credit-building. They have partnered with TransUnion, one of America’s three credit bureaus. The platform will be completely free and will allow users to report their on-time rent payments to increase their credit scores, similar to how on-time credit card payments also increase credit scores. According to EDURain co-founder Arron Zheng, students in urban areas tend to have around 40 points lower credit scores than their peers. This makes renting more difficult as landlords prefer renters with higher scores.
Another service coming in the next few weeks is a legal assistance tool. The tool will give general advice based on legal counsel EDURain received about common legal issues students face in renting environments. EDURain co-founder and Washington University graduate, Adam Knox-Warshaw, advises students to teach themselves and understand their rights as a tenant beforehand, so when the time comes, they’ll be able to “land that property much easier.”
EDURain is specifically looking to “unite all of off-campus housing resources at every school in the St. Louis region,” according to Pierson. They are specifically looking to connect with WashU to provide a better platform with more built in student support, and so they can receive the credibility to partner with more landlords and more schools..