You could always do with more money to cover your college expenses. Fortunately, you can get most of that money through scholarships, grants, work-study, and even student loans (as a last resort). But what if you need more? Crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for various reasons, whether it’s for personal reasons or to create a product. Should you crowdfund your college tuition? More importantly, can students actually get the money they need for college through crowdfunding campaigns? The answer may surprise you.
Crowdfunding for College
Initially used to raise capital for charities and start-up businesses, more and more students are not turning to crowdfunding to raise funds to pay for college.
An important thing to remember is that you cannot raise ALL the money you need through this avenue. The way crowdfunding works is that you launch a campaign requesting funds to help you pay for college. You can share your campaign through social media and spread awareness for it. Donors then donate what they can to help you meet your goals. This does not mean you can use this as an easy way to pay for college without taking on any loans or working towards earning scholarship awards. You have to compel people to donate to your specific campaign. Even then, there’s no guarantee that your campaign will be fully funded.
Where crowdfunding works really well is to help you raise funds for stop-gap financial needs. For example you could start a campaign to raise the balance that you still need AFTER borrowing to pay towards any college related-expenses. The most successful crowdfunding campaigns are those that are very specific about what the money is going to be used for—such as textbooks or room and board. People want to know where their money is going, and being specific helps outline to them exactly what you’re planning to do with the money.
Keep in Mind
Any money you raise through a crowdfunding campaign will be taxed and needs to be reported—which can affect your financial neediness given that you now have money you didn’t before. Make sure you read up on all guidelines and keep on top of financial aid procedures. If you have any questions, ask the college’s financial aid office.
All in all, crowdfunding isn’t a bad way to get some extra money to cover college expense gaps. However, it shouldn’t be your first priority—that’s reserved for scholarships and grants. Don’t depend on crowdfunding to pay for your college costs too. There’s a good chance that your campaign isn’t funded, so you need other sources of funds. Again, that’s where scholarships and grants come in. Spend more of your time applying to scholarships and filing the FAFSA for grant aid. Those are much more stable sources of funding that can help pay for college.
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