Is GoFundMe College Funding Going Too Far?


March 14, 2017 10:49 AM
by Susan Dutca
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.

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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Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



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pamelal  on  4/27/2017 7:30:03 PM commented:

No it is not going to far I have a gfm page set up if you would like to donate

Zyanna D.  on  3/14/2017 4:51:40 PM commented:

GoFundMe can is a good source to pay for college because just like for scholarships, you may have to write an essay explaining why you think you deserve that scholarship. People then read your essays and choose who to give the money to. Through social media's, your audience are your peers and you need to find a way to convince them to give you money. Therefore if you write a really compelling essay, you're more likely to get more money. Same thing with scholarships, based on your writing skills, will determine the amount of money you receive.

Trace F.  on  3/14/2017 3:16:46 PM commented:

Er. This article explicitly mentions that the root problem is no crowd funding itself, and then goes on to question its use. When the rest of the system is unreliable and not supporting students as it should, are we meant to demonize one of the only effective support systems instead of demonizing an infrastructure designed so that students have no stability and their futures are constantly threatened by debt? This is a terrible post and entirely vapid. I can't imagine it was entirely thought through.

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