Is GoFundMe College Funding Going Too Far?

Is GoFundMe College Funding Going Too Far?
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Although many students admit they're embarrassed to ask for money, crowdfunding has proven to be successful for students with the help of friends, families, colleagues and even strangers.

America's education debt is no joke. With a $1.3 trillion debt crisis, the average student in the Class of 2016 having $31,172 in student loan debt, and over 3.8 million students defaulting on their loans, students have turned to crowdfunding options such as GoFundMe. While GoFundMe charges a 5% fee for each donation in addition to a 2.9% processing fee, the fees are "subtracted from the campaign total, rather than being tacked on." Even with the fees, some students have still managed to raise over $20,000.

One immigrant student, Carlos A. Roa Jr. raised over $12,000 and graduated with a degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Another student actually created a GoFundMe campaign for her roommate, Daniella, when she found out she had to drop out of Texas A&M until she could afford it. Daniella was able to receive $3,500 in donations in five days. Fred Gaddy's mother set up a GoFundMe for her son and raised over $6,000; enough to let him return to class and get one step closer to graduation.

To help students navigate the crowdfunding option, GoFundMe created a guidebook. GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon stresses that crowdfunding shouldn't "replace financial aid and scholarships, but as a 'complement'". Critics, such as Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, believe that, though trendy, crowdfunding "ignores the root causes of problems and instead funnels money only toward people with compelling narratives." Do you think crowdfunding is a good source for paying for college? Why or why not?

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