GoFundMe is a personal fundraising website that allows users to raise money for charity, for themselves or for others they find deserving. Users set up their page, tell the story of why they are trying to raise money and then hope the page gets spread through social media and word of mouth enough to allow them to reach their fundraising goal.
Many TCU focused GoFundMe pages have been set up, ranging from people looking for help to afford tuition, student organizations hoping to raise money for travel or for supplies and groups looking for donations to help a charitable cause.
First-generation student Alejandra Lopez is hoping she can find similar success with her page.
Lopez, a first-year education major, received a full-tuition scholarship but is trying to raise money on her GoFundMe page to help pay for room and board so she can live on campus and have what she calls the “full college experience.”
“I come from a low-income family,” Lopez said. “My parents had no college savings for me, but I was lucky to have amazing college advisors at my high school, Arlington Heights, which helped me pay off all my tuition.”
While Lopez’s scholarship covers the $44,670 tuition bill, the cost of books and on-campus dining and living brings the total cost of a year at TCU to about $58,090, according to the Office of Financial Aid.
After her tuition was paid for, Lopez said she searched for options to live on campus because she did not have a car to commute to class and her parents didn’t have time to take her.
“At first, I was planning on asking my boss to co-sign a loan for me,” Lopez said.
However, she had difficulty finding one she could apply for. Lopez said her boss then encouraged her to make a GoFundMe account in hopes for her to raise enough money to live on campus. Once Lopez created the account, her boss shared the link to his Facebook.
Within a day of creating the account, Lopez raised $3,000 and currently has her first semester for room and board paid off.
“I was surprised by the amount of generosity I received,” she said. “I realized there are so many people out there who want to see you succeed and see you live your dreams, which I’m truly grateful for.”
While raising money, Lopez said it was hard to hear some of the reactions about her account.
She said she felt upset when she, “saw people on Facebook talking about how stupid it was to make a GoFundMe to pay for a dorm room.”
However, the love from her community outweighed the negativity she saw on social media. Today she is enjoying living the college life in Sherley Hall, Lopez said.