Moving America Forward

The Next Frontier in Crowdfunding: DIY College Scholarships

January 25, 2014
by
The Next Frontier in Crowdfunding: DIY College Scholarships
Ian Waldie/Getty Images
This Wesleyan University graduate knew that financial aid is often not enough.

Fed up with the lack of scholarship opportunities at your school? Well, now even scholarships can be DIY thanks to Cabell Maddux, a recent Wesleyan University graduate.

Maddux and his friends started a crowdfunding system called Scholarships Expanding Education to help students pay for college. SEE flips the traditional scholarship crowdfunding model around by inviting donors to start a scholarship in their own name. Then donors can recruit other people to donate to the fund. The donor can set GPA limits and majors so that the scholarship can be catered to what he or she would like to see. “We noticed the buzz around crowdfunding for students with a couple of sites that started up years ago, and these were sites where students were creating their own profile. As students ourselves, we thought it would be so hard for us to sell our stories to 100 strangers,” Maddux told Fast Company. “So we came up with this concept of flipping this on its head, with starting with someone who’s essentially the giver, so the student isn’t having to mobilize this crowd of donors.”

SEE debuted last month with encouraging results. A fund set up for Maddux’s grandfather’s birthday has raised $550 in the last week. And SEE has raised $8,000 in scholarships for Harvard, Fordham, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Averett University. Maddux and his team have applied for nonprofit status hoping to make scholarship donations tax deductible. The team aims to get things running smoothly before Maddux goes to medical school next year. “We want to build and provide another access point to financial aid,” Maddux told Fast Company. “We want to make this simple for the schools as well.”

MORE: The Neediest Students Couldn’t Afford His Help, So This Test-Prep Prodigy Stepped Up

Comments