Students turn to crowdfunding to pay for college

MINNEAPOLIS -- Paying for college can take some planning, just ask the financial advisors.

"It does cost somewhere between five hundred dollars a month and one thousand dollars a month for a newborn to start funding for college if you want to fully fund," Natalie Brinkman of Prosperwell Financial pointed out for parents saving now for kids to go into higher education the years down the road.

The College Board estimates that a moderate state college for the 2012-13 academic year cost a little more than $22,000, and a private school is double that.

"It used to be where you could actually come up with something, enough money to get to a state school and now even the state schools are much more expensive, people think about it more than they used to," Amy O'Keefe, also a financial planner at Prosperwell pointed out.

But wait a minute, remember that old saying, it takes a village?

Well, that is the idea behind crowdfunding for a cause.

And high school students are using it like crazy to raise money for college tuition.

Crowdfunding is social media meets fundraising, and college students are using websites like or to raise funds.

Crowdfunding is in its heyday, and anything goes.

In Hibbing there is a fund to save Bob Dylan's unofficial museum, in Rochester you can pitch in to fund an urban garden, and last year, Travail, a restaurant in Robbinsdale, raised more than $250,000.

And now, crowdfunding has become popular with students looking to pay for college.

According to data from the website, 212 students used the site to raise college funds in 2010. So far in 2014, more than 153,000 students have done it or are doing it.

Salina Vang, a 2014 graduate of Edison High School, will be the first in her family to ever go to college when she heads to the University of Minnesota - Duluth this fall.

Her parents emigrated from Laos and immediately began farming to sell at weekend markets. Vang started her GoFundMe campaign because she has nine brothers and sisters and she said her parents can't afford to help her go to school.

"I'm trying to fund right now so I can go get bed sheets and all the materials I need for school," Vang told us of her $2,000 goal.

Salina is doing her part as well, she has some scholarships and she works full time this summer at the YMCA but because she comes from a low income family, she needs that little extra.

On her or any GoFundMe site, people can donate as much or as little as they want with just one click.

"I just feel blessed in a way where like I know that people out there actually care and want me to go to college and succeed in my dreams," Salina said.

Welcome to the modern day scholarship.

If you want to check out Salina's GoFundMe page click here.


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