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August 03, 2010 4:46 PM Build Your Own Scholarship

By Daniel Luzer

Rather than wasting countless hours sending in essays to apply for $2,000 scholarships for people of Armenian descent, or whatever, why not just start your own? Some students are doing just that, soliciting donations for college over the Internet.

According to an article by Kim Clark in U.S. News & World Report:

A growing number of students are raising money for college through new “make your own scholarship” Web sites. These sites enable students to post pictures, profiles, and appeals for donations. The sites also help them market their appeals and collect and manage their donations. The sites also attract donors by verifying the student’s college and offering anonymity.

Much like to Craigslist, this attempt helps break down the barriers between people who want things and people who can provide those things. A major barrier to ever attracting large donations, however, is that when a donor gives money to a student directly it doesn’t legally count as charity. The donations don’t qualify for charitable tax breaks.

Still, the idea seems promising. Perhaps the next step is to help get a bunch of small donations together to create a generously funded public university.

Check out some of the direct-appeal scholarship websites.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer