With the cost of college increasing annually, students are forced to find innovative ways to cover their expenses.
Some are taking to social media with Go Fund Me accounts hoping to offset some of their tuition costs.
San Diego-based Go Fund Me is a website for which individuals, organizations and groups can set up accounts and raise money for virtually anything they need. It is the No. 1 online fundraising platform for personal campaigns, with more than $3 billion raised since its creation in 2010.
Although most college students, including University of La Verne students, are eligible for college loans, some are looking to such crowd funding options as an alternative to taking out big loans.
The national student loan debt is $1.41 trillion and school loan debt is the second leading form of debt in the United States, according to the 2017 Student Loan Report, a Delaware based independent corporation started in 2015 to track student loan data.
With these statistics in mind, more than 100,000 students have started Go Fund Me accounts to supplement their tuition, according to Go Fund Me data released earlier this year.
Among those students is ULV senior psychology major Jedaun Carter, who started a page to make up the difference between her financial aid and what she could afford to pay.
“Under our current administration, I don’t know if these loan forgiveness programs are going to be here much longer,” Carter said. “We don’t know if interest is going to build. We just don’t know the possibilities.”
In five days, Carter raised $850 to help her continue her education at ULV. While she said it was still not enough, it helped offset the costs.
At the University of La Verne, 96 percent of students receive grants from the school, according to free-4u.com, a national database of scholarships.
“I receive money from the school, (but) the loans are piling up,” sophomore Jennifer Gomez said.
Gomez said she has thought about creating a Go Fund me account too.
“If you can’t pay for something and you want to pursue it, then by all means do it,” she said.
Although Go Fund Me accounts have gained popularity for those trying to cover college tuition, some believe it should not be used for this.
“I don’t see why someone else should have to pay for your college because they are already paying the taxes going into the subsidized of your education if you’re getting financial aid from the government,” Jordan Harwell, junior history major, said.
Harwell said Go Fund Me should be used to donate to charitable causes or for people in dire need.
“I don’t think college is a charity,” Harwell said.
“It is an investment in yourself. Not just to have other people invest in you. The public is already investing so much in the University,” he said.
On the other hand, some people do not have any other options.
“I am lucky enough to get through college with my debate scholarships and grant money, but I know others are not as fortunate,” said Jonas Poggi, freshman speech communications major and debate team member.
“I see nothing wrong with using Go Fund me to help with the cost of college.”
College tuition continues to increase – outpacing inflation and wages – and yet students know a college degree is more important now than ever.
“Most of us who are creating the Go Fund Me account do not want sympathy, it is just our last resort,” Carter said.
Layla Abbas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.