How to Crowdfund Your College Education? Step by Step Guide

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Higher education is expensive.Even in this age of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and distance learning, each student must seriously consider the financial implications of a college degree.

The average price of a public four-year college for a single year was more than $20,000 for state funded students during the 2017-2018 school year.

For students attending private schools, the average cost rose to more than $ $46,000 per year.Given these sky high costs, it is not surprising to find that several students have turned to crowdfunding their education.

Ready to jump on the bandwagon?Here’s how to put together your own successful crowd funding campaign:

Does crowd funding really work for college?

As it turns out, a considerable number of students are dependent on the kindness of strangers to complete their education.Last year, 130,000 GoFundMe accounts collected over $20 million.That figure showed an increase from the previous year, during which 140, 000 educational accounts collected more than $17.5 million.

If the numbers alone are not convincing, you can easily find success stories in which students received thousands of dollars in donations.They used their donations to cover the cost of books, school-related travel and other educational expenses.

What is the cost of crowd funding your way to college?

You probably think the crowdfunding is “free.”It is natural to assume that you can simply create a DreamFund or GoFundMe account and to accept donations humbly.

But here’s the deal: crowdfunding comes at a monetary cost. Crowdfunding platforms allow students to take donations, but these sites have maintenance costs.Each platform’s fee structure is different.GoFundMe, 

for example, takes 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for each donation to personal campaigns.Other platforms may charge more or less.And there are also other costs.Some students need to sign contractual agreements requiring them to repay their investors’ money periodically.

These agreements are known as contracts for human capital.This kind of crowdfunding can be a source of stress for some students.As investors seek returns on their investments, students feel pressurized to get high-paying jobs when they get their degrees.

Whichever route you go, make sure you consider the cost of the crowdfunding before deciding on your monetary goal.In other words, if you need $20,000, you really need to collect more than $20,000 to reach that goal.

How do you choose a crowd funding platform?

Now that you know that crowdfunding is effective, let’s talk about how to choose a crowdfunding platform.We start with reviewing a point we made above:The cost of crowdfunding.

Costs are one of the most important things to consider once you’ve decided to start a campaign.You do not just want to start a campaign to find that the platform is too expensive to achieve your goals in time.

For this reason, we recommend that you filter the price information of all available platforms before finalization.You should also be concerned about the platform and purpose of each platform.

DreamFund and GoFundMe, for example, have achieved mainstream success and are targeted at general campaigns.However, some platforms are not so popular and are often used for specific purposes.Indiegogo is such a platform.

It has a reputation as a platform that people use to fund their entrepreneurial projects.But remember, you can successfully use any platform you choose as long as you build a strong campaign.

How do you put together a successful campaign?

Here are our three best tips for anyone who wants to build a campaign:

Define a clear goal – When donating people to strangers’ campaigns, they take a risk.Because they do not know that they can fully trust these strangers. Their concerns are merited.

Crowdfunding scams are not unheard of.You can resolve some of this fear by defining a clear goal from the start of your campaign. Do not be vague and provide specific details about every aspect of your goals. Do not say, for example, that you want to go to college.

Tell everyone what colleges you want to attend and what you want to study while you are there.You must also tell them what your career aspirations are and what impact you think you will have in that career.

Figure out what separates your story from others – There are millions of other people just like you want to go to college but do not have the money to do so.So, when you begin online and post your story, highlight your case’s unique aspects and what makes you deserving above everyone else.

Be as visible as possible – Most people watching your campaign will live hundreds of thousands of miles away from you. The only impression they have about you is the one you create with your words and images.Get creative. 

Record an introductory video for people to watch before they donate. This will give them a little sense of who you are as a person.And do not forget to share it via social media.Content without promotion will be of no use to you.

Keep your end of the bargain – If you take money from donors, keep your end of the bargain. Donors expect to see that you use the money you receive for what you raised it for.

And do not think you’re not going to be caught in a lie. Many people took money from donors, abused it, and subsequently suffered the consequences. Some of the consequences relate to legal proceedings or the compelling return of the money.

Keep your donors updated regularly about your activities. Let them know how grateful you are for their valuable assistance.

That being said, here are some of the best platforms for crowd funding your education:

  1. GoFundMeGoFundMe is the most common crowdfunding platform for university and education costs.
  2. UpstartWith Upstart, you can provide a percentage of your future income in exchange for immediate funds.The rate you can receive (1% of your future income) is determined based on your previous training and experience.
  3. IndiegogoIndiegogo is an international crowd funding website that also allows charity and donation-based campaigns.You can use this platform to raise education-related expenses.The fee ranges from 4% to 9%, depending on the choice of an “all or nothing” or fixed crowdfunding campaign.There is also a 3% payment processing fee and $ 25 wire fee for non-US campaigns.
  4. ZeroBoundZerobound is a crowd funding platform for volunteers to pay student loan debt while also strengthening communities.ZeroBound brings volunteers, organizations and sponsors together to a multilevel platform to connect and support each other.
  5. ScholarMatch The website basically serves as a way for generous donors to offer bursaries to students.Scholar Match is a non-profit organization which partners with universities, colleges and companies around the Bay Area of California. It looks for talented, ambitious students dedicated to higher education and who need financial resources.Students are nominated by partner organizations and apply to join ScholarMatch.
  6. Piglt – Whether you are an individual who is raising money to pay for your education or to pay off your student loans to a nonprofit that pays money to cover the cost of the educational programs you run, such as teaching out-of-survival skills or cancer awareness or disaster recovery or mentorship programs – Piglt is the place for community-based fundraising. Piglt charges a 5% fee if the target is reached and 8% if the target amount is not.
  7. CrowdfundEDUCrowdfundEDU is another education-related crowdfunding platform.You can use the website to raise funds for education-related projects or teaching assistance.The website costs 5% if you reach your goal or an 8% fee if you do not reach your goal.
  8. AngelDormAngelDorm is an education funding platform for tomorrow’s leaders. It helps students to raise money for their educational expenses by connecting with their social network.AngelDorm deducts a handling fee of $ 2.75 per donation.