Micro-finance for college tuition?
A nonprofit start-up in Rhode Island hopes micro-donations can help low-income students pay for college. CO-Fund, which is run by several Brown University students, selects scholarship winners through a competitive process, then introduces them to donors through a website. The goal is to raise $2,500 for each student. In exchange, the student agrees to “pay it forward:”
First, students can work for CO-Fund or a partner organization for at least one year after graduating. Second, students can donate one-fifth of the amount received back to other CO-Fund students within five years after graduating. Third, students can complete at least 100 hours of community service with a partner organization while in college. Fourth, students can complete a graduate program. Not only does this last option demonstrate that the student clearly values and succeeded in their higher education, but studies show civic involvement and giving back to one’s community increases significantly after low-income students complete graduate school.
A group of current Brown students are working to raise money for venture through a partnership with Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service.