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Published On: Thu, Apr 26th, 2018

Fake News: Student loan expert Drew Cloud cited by media does not exist, he’s a ‘pseudonym’ for authors linked to LendEDU

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

In an era of fake news, The Chronicle of Higher Education may have just unmasked one of the biggest lies of all: self-described debt expert and journalist Drew Cloud does not exist, but is “a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC” owned and ran by Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.

“LendEDU, the student-loan refinancing company that created a fictional expert who was widely quoted by media outlets, has apologized for hiding the fact that it created ‘Drew Cloud,'” The Chronicle wrote as a follow up to their expose outing cloud as a fake, despite being cited by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, CNBC, Forbes, and Business Insider.

“I want to apologize for a couple things,” wrote Nate Matherson, chief executive of LendEDU, the parent company of the Student Loan Report. “We never disclosed that ‘Drew Cloud’ was a pen name that represented a group of us writing these posts. I really regret that. We are proud of our personal backgrounds and where they have brought us today. We should’ve chosen to be clear about who was authoring the posts. We have made a change on the site, effective immediately, to use each author’s real name for every post. We will also retroactively notate posts by Drew Cloud.”

The Chronicle noted that “Cloud recently made headlines for writing a report that suggested that nearly one in five students was investing extra student-loan money in cryptocurrencies.”

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.

There was a photo of him on the site. 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.

“Our goal, from the beginning, is to create an informative source of news and educational content for consumers. We are not focused on monetizing from Student Loan Report, LLC. As you may have noticed, there are very few advertisements on the website,” Matherson told the Chronicle.

“Our parent company, Shop Tutors, Inc., acquired the online assets of studentloans.net in 2016,” he explained. “The Student Loan Report, LLC is a separate entity. For context, it is very common practice for online media companies to own or acquire additional media assets. Student Loan Report, LLC is a for-profit organization and is paid by some of the companies featured on our website. Student Loan Report, LLC may earn a fee when our readers apply or receive a financial product featured on our website.”

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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