(WOIO) - Many college students faced with the cost of sky-high tuition are using a revolutionary way to pay for their education. While most depend on scholarships, loans and family, some are turning to crowdfunding.
Stephanie Ilodi is using the site GoFundMe.com to raise money for her $40,000 nursing degree.
"You set up your account, make up a profile, tell your story and share with your friends and family," explained Ilodi.
Ilodi graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2009. She planned to enter a career in law, but after struggling to find a job, she decided to switch to the nursing field. Ilodi said she hit the maximum amount of federal loans she can receive, and even though she works, affording her tuition is still difficult.
"Grants, scholarships, yes I'm applying, but it's still not enough," said Ilodi.
Ilodi decided to start her GoFundMe account in September. She's part of a growing trend of students turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for the ever-rising cost of college tuition.
There are many crowdfunding success stories, such as James Robertson, the Detroit man who walked 21 miles to work. Supporters on GoFundMe raised more than $300,000 for Robertson so he could buy a car.
But among the success stories of crowdfunding, there is also criticism. Some critics argue that financial hardships caused by tuition and other struggles are so common that individual people should not receive special attention.
Ilodi has raised more than $1,000 toward her $20,000 goal, and believes there's nothing wrong with asking for help.
"I say, it can't hurt to try," said Ilodi. "I want to be a nurse and I'm not going to stop at anything to be a nurse."