Former FSU President leading the charge for Better Student Services


As we all know (or should), we have recently been named one of the top 100 North American Tech Startups. This comes at an amazing time as payd gears up to launch a new all-in-one self-serve Student Card application in Canada and the United States. 

But, what you might not know is that the reason our founder, Jonathan Hillis cares so much about the financial well-being of students across the globe is, well, because he was one.  As a proud graduate of Fanshawe College in London Ontario, Jonathan Hillis started his student-focused career quite early. He’s has dedicated his entire career to helping students succeed. Starting as VP of Fanshawe College Student Union, he earned the Joan Homer Leadership award, an award reserved for only the top leaders in Ontario. 

After that he became the President of Fanshawe Student Union, dedicating the organization’s efforts towards affordability of on-campus services and strengthening the student food bank called The Sharing Shop. And, these efforts did not go unnoticed as Howard Rundle, the Former President of Fanshawe College told us. Having worked with many such students over the years I was most impressed by Jonathan’s leadership, ability and dedication to his role in contributing to the success of students.”

After graduation, Jonathan continued to work for students by creating student benefit plans that ensured that as long as students were in school, they were protected. He also developed RealCampus a program designed to help students with their mental wellbeing while they study. With a collaboration with online therapy startup Shift Collab, the program helped thousands of students with their mental health across Canada. 

Through this work, he discovered how much a student’s financial situation affected their mental health. So he set off to found Payd and developed a tool that take on the student debt crisis. This tool was the Payd Student Card application – a revolutionary approach to a campus’ student card that allows students to pay off their loans while they are in school. Something that Paul Masse, General Manager of the Fanshawe Student Union says is very exciting “Payd strives to establish a stronger post-secondary campus community through digital student cards while focusing on helping students move financially ahead.”

The Payd student card is an easy-to-use application that combines all of a school’s features and benefits onto one platform. Student Cards, Access Cards, Transit Passes, Meal Plans, Security, Etc.  But on top of that with their exclusive card-linking technology, Payd puts saving and paying off student loans on auto-pilot. Schools can now do more than just educate, now they can help pay for it. This is something Jonathan believes all schools should be doing. He explains, “No longer can a school just educate. They need to be a partner to their students –  providing the tools and services to help their students live better lives today and tomorrow.”

But my boss (I swear he’s not forcing me to write this piece) didn’t stop there.  To help all students like myself, he’s mandated that Payd is to always have a workforce that consists of 30% paid co-op students or interns. Which has helped me get a job…but anyway back to him. 

Jonathan Hillis started his journey by helping the Students in London and he’s continuing to do so today. President of Camosun College and Former VP Academic at Fanshawe College, tells us how important payd is to the education world. “His company payd shows serious benefits to the students of today and the students of the future. As we move forward, I look forward to what tools he and his extremely talented team will be able to come up with.”

By strengthening the partnership between Fanshawe, Western, the London community and small businesses in the surrounding areas, Jonathan and his team are looking to help London students like never before. And as he tells us everyday, it is time for a big change.