More Hoosier students turning to GoFundMe to help pay for college education

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A new report out by GoFundMe shows more Hoosier students are turning to the site to gain financial support for college.

The report stated there are 2,659 campaigns in Indiana for education with $962,000 raised and $16,700 in donations. As college costs continue to grow, GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon says the trend is increasing for GoFundMe campaigns to be geared towards funding various aspects of a students college experience.

"It’s for traveling to school. It’s for books. It’s for study abroad programs. It’s for a host of different things that allow students to thrive in college rather than stress out about the financial burden of going to school," said Solomon.

Many GoFundMe campaigns are for current college students hoping to help pay off student loan debt. Dominique Whitley is a senior at IUPUI studying psychology, sociology, and philosophy. She knows all too well how expensive college education can be.

"I worked all the way through my freshman and sophomore year. I was working and going to school full time, so I was trying to pay off the loans that I had to take out," Whitley said.

When she graduates, she's hoping to become a counselor and work with substance abuse patients. She turned to GoFundMe after hearing some family and friends gain extra financial support through the site.

"I was like, you know, I’ll give it a try. The worst thing that could happen is that I didn't get any money and I would be in the same place," Whitley said.

She's hoping to reach more than $5,000 to help with student loans.

Another student, Steven O'Riley, is hoping to accomplish his dream of going to college to study computer science. Right now, he's a senior at The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities High School. When he graduates, he's hoping to go to The University of Southampton in the U.K. He was accepted into their internationally ranked computer science program.

"It would awesome to take this focus area and just minus tuition costs just be able to study and do what I love," O'Riley said.

The program is a six-year degree with the option for a PhD. It will cost at least $30,000 per year. O'Riley is already well on his way academically. He's top of his class and already developing programs.

"I know if I could get just past beginning my journey that I could just advance forward so quickly, but it’s just reaching that first point, which is the difficult part, and that’s what made me start my GoFundMe page," said O'Riley.

GoFundMe has some advice for students looking to start a fundraising campaign:

  • Tell a compelling story
  • Share your link on all social media platforms
  • Create a hashtag
  • Update often and thank your donors

GoFundMe also has important information for both donors and campaign organizers to keep their funds safe. For more on that, click here.