Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

With the increase in sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, the trend of raising money for study abroad trips, medical bills, disaster repairs, creative projects, and even tuition has become easier and much more common.

This new method of fundraising, called crowdfunding, allows anyone to post their project or cause to the web and share it via social media in hopes of a little help with funding. Billions of dollars have been raised online to help a variety of causes including tuition funding. The benefit of using GoFundMe to raise money for college costs is that it only takes a few minutes to set up your campaign and start accepting donations, reports Kelsea Little, Public Relations Manager at GoFundMe.

All of the various crowdfunding sites have different requirements of the campaigns they host. Kickstarter, for example, only allows for campaigns on their site to be focused around kick starting creative endeavors such as films or music. Although you cannot raise money for tuition on Kickstarter specifically, you can raise money to help afford your hobbies and entrepreneurship.

While some sites require you to reach your goal before you can receive the funds, some sites will allow you to edit your goal at any time while still having access to the funds. GoFundMe allows users to change their goals and to use their funds at anytime. With Kickstarter, you must reach your goal to receive the money and if you don’t reach your goal, the contributors are refunded. On another crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, reaching your goal gives you lower, better fees when getting the money you raised.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when building a campaign on any of these sites. “A bright, colorful campaign photo of the beneficiary”, “a clear and concise campaign description”, and sharing frequently with friends and family on social media are the keys to success when crowdfunding, according to Little.

A common misconception about crowdfunding is that strangers will donate to your cause. But in reality, it’s your personal networks who will be the ones most likely to support your cause. Crowdfunding success really relies on who you know and how open you are to asking for support through social media and various networks.

Since college students and young adults tend to already be very established and comfortable with social media, crowdfunding can come very naturally to them. All of the various platforms provide campaigners with easy-to-use sharing tools to directly post their campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

However, a new type of online funding has made its presence as well. Pave, based in New York and quickly growing, started as a company to match students and entrepreneurs with a backer to pay for things like tuition, big purchases, start ups, and relocation. According to Erin Claire, Community Manager at Pave, the company only offers loans to New York residents due to their license, but they expect to be nationwide by April.

Pave has recently begun offering a process that is similar to a typical loan process. However, they still consider themselves the best option for students. “We consider a lot of factors that traditional lenders, in an effort to find credit worthy borrowers that other lenders don’t consider low risk,” Claire said. “We look at credit data itself in a very nuanced way, especially as it relates to people who don’t have lengthy credit histories. We also consider financial information differently: we look at current snapshot, but also consider future earning potential.” Pave is being called, “a long awaited solution for student loans” by sites like who are inspired by the decentralization of loan suppliers that we are witnessing.

If you’re looking for some extra funding, whether it be for tuition, study abroad or starting your own business after (or hey, even before!) graduation, all of these sites can be a good way to go depending on your network size, willingness to share your endeavors, and openness to ask for help and your credit history and future potential. Crowdfunding is proof that asking for help can really be the best way to succeed.

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