Crowd-funding university degrees: smart or sly?
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Crowd-funding university degrees: smart or sly?

By Camilla Prince

It’s been used to finance films, games, apps and even one man’s quest to make a potato salad, but now, with the eye-watering costs of higher education, some students are turning to crowd-funding as a way of paying for their studies.

One such individual was Oxford student Emily-Rose Eastop, who after struggling to get a job after graduating with a 2:1 In Human Sciences applied, and was accepted, to Oxford on an MSc course. The only barrier was her lack of £26,000.

Hers is one of the successes stories. After setting up a page explaining her dilemma on ‘Hubbub’ (one of the many crowd-funding sites) she managed to raise £26,570, exceeding her target by over £200. She even managed to attract the attention of prominent academics such as Stephen Pinker and Douglas Hofstadter, both of whom donated to her cause.

However, money was not the only thing attracted by Emily’s campaign; it received a huge amount of online vitriol. One comment on her page spat: “Why don’t you get a job like the rest of us and work to get enough money to go and get your degrees like I, and the rest of us have done…Have they no shame in the UK?”. Many of the comments echo this anger at her success at finding a way of circumventing the difficulties faced by millions. ‘We had to suffer to pay for our degrees’ they say, so ‘you should too’.

In the press she’s also been branded a ‘posh brat’, a claim presumably based on the middle-class area of London inhabited by her parents rather than the state school she attended.  But surely raising the money independently, rather than relying on the ‘The Bank of Mum and Dad’ is the very opposite of the aforementioned ‘brattish’ behaviour? Yet public reaction suggests that the world is not convinced. Emily addresses the jibes about getting a job by reasoning ‘How much would I have to be earning per year to put away the £26,000 I need for my masters, even living at home with my parents?’

Continue reading at Study International