Posted at 12:55 p.m., Oct. 17, 2014

SWeaver

Sam Weaver


Crowdfunding could cut college costs

As a high school student, you were probably told good grades and hard work would pay for college. But once colleges of choice started to be picked out and money tallied, we became quickly disillusioned to this fabrication.

College tuition costs have risen in recent years, making paying for a decent college daunting. These costs will only continue to increase in the years to come. So, what can the average student do to pay for college when grants, scholarships and loans aren’t even enough?

Crowdfunding could be the answer. Crowdfunding is defined as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” So, basically, it’s the act of receiving small donations through many people over the Internet to fund a need.

GoFundMe most popular

Many sites exist that feature crowdfunding. GoFundMe, currently the most popular, allows users to raise money for any cause. People in Cheyenne, across the country and even internationally have jumped aboard and raised thousands of dollars toward road trip costs, funeral expenses, medical expenses and, yes, even college tuition.

On GoFundMe, a family raised more than $1 million for their child’s therapy. The page has been open for 11 months and received more than 24,000 individual donations. They also advertised for their cause through Facebook, gaining more support and coverage.
In Illinois, a student raised more than $50,000 for her academic future on GoFundMe after her mom died. This was twice her original goal, and it took only two months to raise.

But let’s be honest, can this happen to you? Realistically, unless you have a rare, life-threatening disease or are recently orphaned, probably not. These kinds of plights, causes and hardships attract the most attention from donors, not to say no money is given to average people, just not as much.

In Cheyenne, the range in donations is from $100 to more than $15,000. This includes things like medical expenses and funeral services. So, money is out there for you, too.

Good grades equals more money

Donors like to see their money going to a needy or worthy individual. Doing charity works or having good grades could help collect money faster. Any little bit helps during college, after all. So students, advertise yourself! Every award, every good letter grade, every good deed, and every bad day can add up to big bucks for college.

Do you have an admirable future occupation in mind? Add that to the list, too. Starting the page early and using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread the word could result in increased donations for your tuition costs, or any other needs.

Upstart, Indiegogo, CrowdTilt, GradSave, Piglt and YouCaring are also popular crowdfunding sites. Before you jump in, read the fine print. The percentage taken from the total collected as well as individual donations will change from site to site.

Also, some crowdfunding sites will not allow a user to collect the donations until the goal is met. GoFundMe charges users a flat 7.9 percent rate on the total donations collected as well as a 30-cent fee for every individual donation received. It is, however, free to make an account and keep it running. The site also allows users to collect the money even if the goal is not reached.

It is important to read through the fees and rules before deciding on which Website to use.

No matter which way you go, college costs are higher, and this fact is not changing any time soon. Whether you get only $25 or $25,000 from crowdfunding, it’s still free money. Get your share of it.

 

Gofundme website

YouCaring website

Indiegogo website