Generous online donors, mostly strangers, are helping individuals struggling to pay tuition for college and K-12 private education. Families are increasingly launching GoFundMe, Upstart and Indiegogo campaigns to tell the world about the challenges preventing them from reaching their education goals.
Emettra Nelson launched a GoFundMe campaign after learning that she would not receive a financial aid award in the fall 2016 semester. Nelson, a single mother in her senior year at Michigan State University, needed just 19 credits to graduate. Through her campaign, Nelson received a scholarship and donations from strangers totaling $10,330.
GoFundMe said education is the fastest growing campaign type on the site over the past two years, raising more than $100 million. Recognizing the need, the company announced a scholarship initiative to give $10,000 to 10 college or postgraduate students.
“Far too often in this country, financial challenges can stand in the way of students pursing their educational dreams. That’s why we’re seeing more and more students, parents and educators turning to GoFundMe as a solution,” Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, told Forbes.
Forbes noted that parents are also turning to social funding platforms to finance preschool and private school education. One Pennsylvania family raised more than $5,000 toward its $10,000 goal to send two of their children to a parochial school.
Solomon said corporations—not just individuals—are also contributing to education campaigns. He noted that Dr. Pepper donated more than $46,000 to 14 GoFundMe campaigns last October.