Crowdfunding for College Tuition

September 21, 2013 Updated: September 21, 2013

Online crowdfunding platforms, such as, are increasingly places not only for entrepreneurs or bright people with good ideas but little cash to get their start; they are also helping many college hopefuls who struggle to make ends meet.

These platforms aren’t just for investing in ideas, but also for investing in people.

Here’s a look at a few students who have appealed to their friends, family, and strangers for a lending hand. It’s a difficult step for many of them to take. As one such student’s friend wrote on her Go Fund Me page: “It takes so much courage to step out into the unknown, and to ask for help.”

Kia S., Aspiring Cosmetologist

As of September 21, Kia S. has raised $3,600 with donations from 43 people in the span of a month. Her goal is to raise $15,000 to pay her living costs while she goes back to school for cosmetology. She has a daughter and fiancé, and she plans to work part-time while studying as a care worker for her disabled mother. 

She has been working in the non-profit sector for years and does not have the money to go back to school without placing a great burden on her family. 

Kia writes: 

I’ve decided to pursue my life-long dream of training to be a cosmetologist. I’ll do what it takes to make this my career because I’ve seen first-hand the profound joy that people experience when they look and feel their best. …

When I graduated high school, I had the unique opportunity to be the first person in my family to attend a four-year university. Despite my life-long dream of going to cosmetology school, I felt an obligation to obtain my collegiate degree. I’m very proud of my work at school, and I know that part of my journey was attending and graduating from UC Berkeley. Now, almost a decade later, I’m taking the initiative to do what it takes to go back and earn my cosmetology license so that I can do what I love every day. …

Working in the non-profit sector and living in the Bay Area hasn’t made me a millionaire, but I’ve acquired skills and—most importantly—a family that I love very much. Scholarships are few and far between for students my age, and federal aid isn’t designed to help working adults in my situation. However, I know that my passion, combined with my business acumen, will allow me to flourish as a cosmetologist!

Her expenses: 

Rent for 13 months: $13,000.00

Total tuition cost at College of San Mateo: $5,500

Gas & vehicle maintenance for 13 months ($150.00 per month): $1,950.00

Monthly expenses (food, internet, utilities estimated at $500.00) for 13 months: $6,500.00

Total Estimated Cost: $26,950.00


Ryan Maycock Hopes to Help Struggling Students 

Ryan Maycock has raised $1,665 with donations from 28 people in 16 days. He is striving for a goal of $5,000 to pay off an outstanding debt at Texas A&M University-Commerce so he can continue his studies. He is pursuing a masters degree in community counseling, and his dream is to operate a non-profit organization to help students grades seven through 12 stay in school by providing tutoring and other support. 

Maycock has been working as a tutor while studying, but hasn’t been able to save enough for his studies and has no one to rely on. 

Not only are his aspirations at stake, but also his life in the United States. He will be sent back to the Bahamas if his student visa is revoked. 

Maycock writes:

I never imagined that I would be in college, because that is not a dream that many of us (in my neighborhood) could monetarily afford. Being a terrible student in high school did not positively contribute to my desire of wanting to pursue a post secondary(college) education either. However, I was blessed with a partial scholarship to attend college many years after graduating high school, and was able to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

At present, I am pursuing a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling at Texas A&M University-Commerce. …

The $5,000 figure is part of what’s needed ($7,847.12) to lift the fiscal hold from my student account, which is preventing me from registering for classes. Not being registered for classes, means that I am unable to work on campus any longer, and my student visa suspended because I am international student.  … As an international student I do not qualify for Financial Aid, and I am solely dependent on myself to pay for my education.  

Deciding to ask for donations was not an easy decision to make, as I am aware that people have financial obligations of their own. However, after applying (and being denied) by every lending institution for both student and personal loans (with and without cosigners), applying for scholarships and not being selected, and meeting with administrators on campus (without any monetary assistance provided), I decided to take a leap of faith, and seek donations. 

He attached a document from the university showing the amount he owes. He will be contributing $1,500 from a scholarship and $1,500 in his personal savings. 

Toria Kuietauskas donated $20 and wrote on his page: “I know it”s not much, but I’d hate to see you put in so much effort here at TAMUC and not get rewarded. I hope you do raise enough to stay. Keep strong. Stay Positive. Love you Ryan!”


Ella Jakovickas So Close to Becoming a Midwife

Ella Jakovickas has raised $570 with 18 donations in one day. Her goal is $3,500, which she needs to pay the rest of her tuition and graduate as a midwife. 

Jakovickas writes: 

I am in the final months of my bachelor of midwifery studies and am short [$3,500] of my total tuition. I have to pay this in order to graduate and become a midwife. 

I have moved from Canada to New Zealand to pursue a training in midwifery and over the past three years I have used student loans and a student line of credit to pay for my tuition. … My family has contributed what they can for my living and tuition and now at the end of my training I have exhausted all my resources. 

I am asking for your support to cover the last [$3,500] of my tuition that is due before the end of November 2013 in order to graduate and realize my goal of becoming a midwife.