Managing Finances

GoFund(My College): A New Way to Pay

By: Julia Dunn, UC Santa Cruz

Your students have to pay for a lot of different expenses the minute they go to college.

It’s not just tuition anymore at all — it’s campus housing fees, meal plan costs, student life fees, and all those random transactions that build up when your student forgets to bring the right furniture to college and needs a new bedside table immediately. You may feel overwhelmed by all of this, especially if your student did not receive as large a financial aid package as you’d hoped.

With tuition costs rising more and more often, the word “affordability” is becoming scarily unfamiliar. Just last week, GoFundMe published a guidebook which illuminates a new way to pay for college (and it’s catching on): a GoFundMe campaign.

According to a recent press release, “In the last three years alone, over 130,000 GoFundMe campaigns have raised $60 million from over 850,000 donations for college tuition and related expenses.”

If you have a student going off to college soon, you might want to keep reading.

It could be a pretty smart move to set up a GoFundMe for your student. You may find it useful to consult the GoFundMe guidebook, which contains three different sections of information:

•New national data about the growing trend of students using social fundraising to pay for school

•Step-by-step instructions and important tips for students about how to create a successful GoFundMe to raise money for college

• State-specific data about the cost of college and information about students in your state who have turned to GoFundMe to help reduce their college costs.

Another useful resource is GoFundMe’s new college fundraising hub, which facilitates the process of matching donors up with students and assists families with creating a strong fundraising campaign.

GoFundMe is “the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with over $3 billion raised so far.” Even more impressive is the number of donors in the GoFundMe community: 25 million!

These tools are meant to make paying for college less of a burden on students, parents, and campus staff and faculty. As parents of a college student (or several), you’ll probably jump at the chance to lessen these financial costs in any way possible.

GoFundMe offers a platform that may seem an unconventional avenue for lowering college costs, but turns out to be an effective platform becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to lower your student’s bill and make higher education more accessible!

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