GoFundMe assists underfunded students

Patrick Budicini
Staff Writer

As student debt is rapidly rising, college students are starting to turn to crowd funding websites including GoFundMe to help offset some of the cost.

These crowdfunding sites make it easy to raise money online and it is possible to quickly create a personalized fundraising campaign that can be posted by anyone and supported by anyone in the world.

The price of college education is on the rise. The College Board reports that a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college is nearly $25,000 and the cost for a moderate private college is close to $50,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year. These costs include tuition, room and board and other expenses such as books and travel.

The College Board also projects that the average college graduate will face about $37,000 in student loan debt.

This is where GoFundMe steps in. Over the past three years, at the hands of nearly 850,000 donations, supporting 130,000 student-run campaigns, $60 million has been raised, according to the GoFundMe for College Guidebook.

GoFundMe makes it possible for students who even with financial aid and merit scholarships need some additional support to pay for tuition, and other college-related expenses such as laptops, textbooks and housing costs.

GoFundMe has an easy-to-use interface which allows the campaigner to have a custom fundraising page with pictures and other visuals displaying the goal of the campaign and updates on progress. Donors can simply view the campaign page, which they may have learned about through social media, email or by simply knowing the campaign name and can donate, anonymously if desired, and pay with either a debit/credit card or by mailing a check.

Students can withdraw the money at any time and can start putting it toward the cause. All donations are made through the GoFundMe website and the company usually takes about 8 percent from each donation to support company operations as well as credit card processing fees.

GoFundMe provides hope for many students who dream of attending college but do not necessarily have resources to do so. There is a ton of information available helping students with launching a campaign and how to spread their message.

USA Today College has conducted studies and published an article regarding how to fund a college tuition using crowdfunding services. They suggest that the campaign be an accurate reflection of the student’s story and explain the motivation for fundraising while outlining some goals.

USA Today recommends that campaigners leverage their social media networks as many of the donations within the first two days come from people they already know. The article suggests that students provide frequent updates and show the progress of the campaign.

There are thousands of stories of successful GoFundMe campaigns. One popular campaign that is going on right now is for a boy named Keegan Nutt.

He is one of five children of a single mother who is struggling to support the family, especially with one daughter who suffers a rare form of brain disease that makes it impossible for her to be alone.

He is seeking $15,000 to put toward living on campus at Stone Hill College.

He hopes after college he will be able to support the family and get it out of destitution. He has raised over $11,000 in the past 6 months, making it a very successful, ongoing campaign.

GoFundMe can be used by anyone seeking to raise money for a variety of inspiring personal reasons. It is proving to be a useful tool for students who are struggling to afford the cost of college tuition and other expenses.

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