As an alum, I make donation to my college each year. As an investor, I could invest in SoFi student loan (Disclaimer: I am not). And I had received sign-on bonuses a couple of times when I accepted a job.
Just thought it might be possible and sensible to create a few hybrid financial products such as:
1. Alumni-to-student loan.
Instead of writing a check to the general pool of a giant university endowment fund, I am writing a check directly to someone that attends my alma mater and I have every interest to wish him/her a great experience. I might even throw in additional time to provide this student mentorship. This student is not just a faceless person to me but someone that I could have influenced his/her life dearly.
I can even decide to write it off if the student decides to take a less financial rewarding career but more meaningful to him and me. In that case, he could be debt free and I just convert that loan into a donation. Everyone is happy and we all win.
2. Future-employer loan.
A student can take loan from either just one employer or multiple employers. For employers, the loan could be merit-based or from social corporate responsibility programs.
If the student decides to join an employer, then the loan just becomes the sign-on bonus with the service commitment of a few years. If not, then the loan could be "refinanced" by the new employer with same or different payment terms. Or, if the student is self-employed, it will be converted to a standard loan.
PS - I have worked in payment industry and consumer lending space. Looking for teammates for the Idea Phrase. Please ping me if you are interested.