Local firms helps students crowd-fund their tuition

With post secondary education becoming more costly every year, Calgary students are turning to alternatives methods to pay for their future.

“I can’t see it going anywhere but a good place,” said Rodger Craig, a future University of Alberta student, who currently has a campaign with local crowd funding company, RCKTSHP.

Calgary-based RCKTSHP was started by the incubator company Anagram Inc., and was launched at the end of August.

It was created as a way to help give students an alternative to student loans.

“There needs to be alternative ways of doing it,” said Joseph Mak, one of the founders of RCKTSHP.

“Students graduating with thousands of dollars in debt is not helpful to anyone.”
 
RCKTSHP has been soliciting students to start campaigns with them. Currently they have four students.

The students using RCKTSHP have set $2,000 to $10,000 as their goals for the amount they would like to raise.

Craig found out about RCKTSHP through a friend who was working as an intern for the company in the summer.

“My friend asked me if I wanted to start a campaign and I thought it was an awesome idea,” he said.

Craig, who graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. with a Bachelor of Biological Science, sees his campaign as a way to add to what he is saving by himself.

“I would like to meet my goal, but at the same time I see it as a bonus to whatever I put in myself,” said Craig.

The students control all funds that are raised through RCKTSHP.

“They will manage their own budgets and figure out how best to use their money,” said Mak of how funds raised are used.

Mak hopes that companies such as RCKSTSHP will help students taking post-secondary education in the years to come.

“I don’t even know how much they are going to have to pay to go to school,” said Mak of his niece and nephews’ future financial obligations for their education.

Some potential donors are skeptical of crowd funding tuition, as there is no way to make sure the money that is donated will be used by the student for education.

“The responsibility is on the students. It’s not our place, we try not to police them,” said Mak of how they handle funds donated to students’ campaigns.

Where the money goes, if the future student decides not to attend post secondary education, is also a worry for those donating to campaigns.

“I want to go to med school, I know that,” said Craig of knowing that not attending school is not an option for himself.

It means a lot to him that people are showing faith in him by donating to his campaign.

“It would be really nice if there was a feature to say thank you,” said Craig.

Admittedly, it may be easy for one bad apple to spoil it for everyone involved. However, RCKTSHP does screen the individuals using its site.

“We basically moderate each campaign when it is launched and turn away anything that is inappropriate,” said Mak.

Crowd funding also allows almost anyone to donate to a students campaign. Most often it is those that know the individual campaigning that do so.

“Mostly it’s family members or friends, however, sometimes you’ll see local business donating,” said Mak.

Students graduating with thousands of dollars in debt is not helpful to anyone. – Joseph Mak

Once he graduates from med school Craig would like to be able to help out others with their education.

“I hope one day I can make enough money to do the same and pay it forward.”

Having only positive experiences so far with crowd funding, Craig would recommend crowd funding.

“I don’t really see how you lose by taking part in it,” said Craig.

About Kelsey Oster 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Kelsey Oster is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.