More California students 'crowd funding' to pay for college

Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 22:24:09-05
San Diego students who can't afford to pay for college are turning to a place for help: crowd funding.  
10News' Ariel Wesler met a San Diego State University student from the South Bay, who says GoFundMe is the difference between finishing his education and quitting.
As a tutor at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Ryan Hawks knows the importance of an education. 
“[I’ve been] in the Writing Center for 4 years now. I love this place,” Hawks said.
He's now in his last semester of school at SDSU, but it almost didn't happen.
“I had some issues with my financial aid,” Hawks said. "I had no other options. I was about to give up.”
That’s when a friend suggested GoFundMe. It didn't take long to shed his doubts.
“Within like 3 hours, I was up to like a hundred something dollars. I think I got to $200 something by the end of the day,” Hawks said.
Hawks reached his goal of $860 in about two weeks.
“Pretty much everyone was people I had known and that was pretty touching to me, pretty inspirational,” he said.
GoFundMe says California is top state for these college tuition campaigns, where students have raised more than $8.3 million since 2014.
In fact, a teenager from Compton is heading to Harvard this fall. His campaign now stands at more than $21,000. 
Hawks said the trick is to be specific with your request.
“If everyone just puts in $20 dollars, then I can reach this and that was the average donation,” Hawks said. “I guess I know a lot of people.”
Those people are ready to see this future college professor succeed.
“It makes me want to work hard for them, all those people who donated,” he said. “Maybe one day I'll be teaching here.”
GoFundMe put together this list of five tips for a successful campaign:
  1. Share accomplishments and hard work
  2. Add expenses as wish list items
  3. Spread the word to friends and family
  4. Post frequent updates and photos
  5. Show your appreciation to your donors
For more information or to start your own tuition campaign, click here.