The Atlantic

The Undoing of an Online Student-Loan 'Expert'

The saga of Drew Cloud reveals just how badly those with debt want reliable information.
Source: Maciej Toporowicz, NYC / Getty

It doesn’t take much to run a survey on the website Pollfish. An email address, a title for the survey, a couple of target-demographic details, and $400 dollars—which buys 400 responses—is all that’s needed. These are the types of surveys that produced the sometimes jarring findings published by the Student Loan Report, a website that was founded in 2016 as “a source for news on the student loan industry, financial aid, and scholarships.”

Based in part on those findings, the website’s founder, Drew Cloud, built a public profile. He in local newspapers advising those who had taken out

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