How Crowdfunding Can Help You Cover the Cost of College

| 5 min read Financial Assistance

By the time parents in the US send their children to college, they will have already spent an average of $44,400 on education alone. Then comes the cost of college, which has skyrocketed over the last four decades.

According to College Data, annual costs for students at an in-state public college for the 2017 to 2018 academic year averaged $25,290. For a private college, the average was $50,900. Working- and middle-class American students are often saddled with enormous debt—over one trillion dollars and counting for all US student loans as of 2018.

In recent years, more parents and students have turned to crowdfunding to avoid debt as they pay for college. College crowdfunding fundraisers allow family, friends, and communities to come together in support of young people trying to reach their dreams.

Some facts about college tuition

Tuition is often the single biggest college expense. Tuition rates have soared at both public and private universities. It seems that each successive graduating class sets a new record for highest average student loan debt ever.

  • Tuition varies by institution and by degree program. The average cost of tuition at a public university is just under $10,000 for in-state residents and around $23,000 for out-of-state students. At a private university, that number jumps to around $32,000.
  • The average cost of graduate school tuition for public universities was around $30,000, and around $40,000 for private schools, according to USA News and World Report.
  • The Wall Street Journal recently reported that US college graduates have an average student loan debt of $35,000.

The cost of college room and board

Many college students have never lived on their own before, and the cost of room and board (i.e., housing and food) can be intimidating. Housing costs vary greatly depending on the campus and city. At many schools, housing and food can roughly equal the cost tuition. Many students opt for on-campus student housing in their first year. At some schools, students live in dorms for all four years. While this can sometimes be more expensive than off-campus housing, it can help build community—and students know what to expect and don’t have to worry about dealing with the rental market.  

  • The average cost of room and board is $8,887 at a public university campus dorm and $10,089 at a private university, reports My College Guide.
  • The Department of Numbers reports that the average rent in the U.S. is $905 per month, though housing near colleges is typically more expensive due to demand.
  • The cost of food varies by geographic area and lifestyle, but will likely cost at least $250 per month.

The cost of studying abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a college student. Although the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture is invaluable, it does comes with a price tag.

  • The cost of studying abroad varies widely between school-sponsored programs and private ones. According to the Institute of International Education, the average cost of study abroad for one year is around $20,000, but students could wind up spending much more (or less) depending on the country and program of study.
  • Factor in the cost of taking weekend trips or traveling after your program ends. Your estimates will depend on the predicted exchange rate and cost of living. Look for student and youth hostels.
  • Compare the costs of different transportation options (planes, trains, buses, etc.). Look for shuttles or special student deals.

Textbooks and technology costs

Textbook publishers often charge shocking sums. Savvy students can find ways around retail pricing by looking online and searching used bookstores. But when budgeting, don’t count on getting a great deal every time.

Most students will need to own a computer and phone during college. There are deals to be had on both, and some schools provide laptops to students. One way to justify the expense of a quality mobile device is that it may help offset textbook costs by serving as an e-reader.

  • The College Board estimates that the average cost of textbooks sets an undergraduate back $1,200 per academic year.
  • Laptop Magazine determined that the average cost of a PC laptop is $484, but students majoring in subjects such as film or graphic design may need a more sophisticated (and pricy) machine.
  • Leave room in your budget for basic school supplies and miscellaneous costs. Whether you need to purchase art supplies, transportation to events, or printing, remember that academic expenses aren’t always limited to books.

Crowdfunding for your college education

Sure, the cost of college can be daunting, but college fundraising is here to help you bridge the gap and make this happen. From what we’ve seen, friends and family welcome the opportunity to help students succeed. Your college crowdfunding fundraiser page gives people a way to support you emotionally and financially. If you need help offsetting high college costs, launch a college fundraiser today.

Start a college fundraiser

Written by GoFundMe Team