|It's like Facebook... with money|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Monday, 08 September 2008 18:00|
Time Magazine recently published an article about Max Stephenson, an 18-year-old with a passion to go to New York University. Like many students, one dilemma stands between him and his dream school: money.
Stephenson's mother is on disability and his father works three jobs. Combined with his grants and loans, Stephenson is only able to afford half of the $50,000 tuition. For the other half, Stephenson came up with a plan: e-mail everyone he knows with a plea for $2.50 and to forward the message to their friends and family.
His e-mail ensures readers he is not a con artist or attempting to scam anyone and even provides a phone number to contact NYU's admissions office, who is already familiar with him from his recruitment to play ice hockey in Russia. Thus far, Stephenson has raised about $6,000 from around 2,000 people with only a few people questioning his validity.
Stephenson is not alone. There are now several networking Web sites, similar to Facebook, which allow students to create a profile in which they plea their case to potential lenders. While the Web sites are too new to tell just how successful or trustworthy the students (or lenders) are, Stephenson has taken a different approach - promising to send each donor of $2.50 or more a piece of his graduation gown, just not their money back.
As college students ourselves, we can't help but feel for these kids. We were all lucky enough to afford a college tuition and we understand that not everyone can. Still, we wonder why someone who can barely afford the college of his or her choice would not choose to downgrade just a little bit. Surely, a state school or two years in a community college could help diminish costs greatly. Additionally, there are literally thousands of scholarship opportunities everywhere for just about any topic you could possibly think up.
There are a huge amount of students who rely on scholarships, grants and working a few jobs to make it through college. While it is not the easiest choice, it is more noble than asking for handouts. When you consider the situation, asking for money seems slightly selfish.
Don't get us wrong: we believe everyone deserves a good education and we realize there are a lot of people who do not appreciate the work that goes into affording one. We definitely sympathize with those who are trying their best to get into school, but that said, we find it kind of unfair to rely on everyone you know to pay for it. Not to mention the awkward place it puts those being asked in.
We can't blame the guy. Initially, it seems like a pretty great idea. The problem arises when more than one person decides to do the same thing. For the people who can afford tuition, or are just scraping by themselves, it is a little more difficult to carry the burden of others as well.
Obviously, we hope that a day will come when anyone can go to college regardless of financial situations. In the mean time, we recommend checking out a few scholarship and grant books from your local library.