Crowdfunding a degree: selfish or a stroke of genius?

by Charlotte Walmsley at Cardiff University,

Like most students, Emily-Rose Eastop finished university with lofty ambitions but was left disillusioned by a dwindling jobs market. Despite a degree in Human Sciences from Oxford University, Eastop found that she was not as desirable a candidate as she had previously hoped.

Following four years of sporadic jobs, including a job in a City firm that went bust and working as a biology tutor, she decided to go back into education and was accepted into Wadham College, Oxford to do her dream masters in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology. However, when she was not allocated funding, Eastop had to get creative.

She decided to tug on the heart (and purse) strings of the online community by raising awareness of her financial struggle through crowdfunding. In exchange for much needed financial support, she promises to write a blog during her masters to give donors a glimpse into her studies and allow them access to “easily digestable” summaries of her essays and research.

Thus far, Emily-Rose’s page has attracted both widespread media coverage and a hefty sum of nearly £20,000 from over 400 donors. Her supporters range from fellow cognitive scientists to conductors to supporters pledging a pound for access to her donors only blog.

However, what Emily-Rose did not foresee was the backlash in the wake of her success. Following media interest in her story, she has faced a barrage of criticism and has been branded a “posh brat.”

Insults have ranged from being deemed “lazy”, due to people’s incredulity that she could not raise the money herself (her fees alone are £11, 250, without even taking into account living expenses or accommodation) to, at its worst, misogynistic taunts claiming that she is a “pretty girl who does not understand why she has to pay her own way and who has probably never had to pay for her drinks either.”

It is hard to understand such vitriol directed at a young person, charged with the crime of wanting to enter the world of academia without falling further into the stranglehold of student debt. Much anger directed at Eastop seems to be thinly veiled jealousy that commenters had not been able to study a masters or had needed to take out bank loans, but as Eastop herself argues: “since when was jealousy and bitterness something to boast about?” Surely we should applaud her ingenuity and celebrate the fact that somebody was able to circumvent the ever-increasing barriers to further education?

As a student about to embark on a masters, I cannot deny the intimidating financial obstacles: funding is fiercely competitive, there are no student loans available and bank loans are limited and often accompanied by high interest rates. It is lamentable that the choice as to whether students continue their studies seems to be grounded more in finances than individual merit.

Eastop’s fundraising efforts and calls for collaboration to help students carry the heavy burden of debt not only sheds light on her struggle, but the struggle of the majority of postgraduate students having difficulties affording their education. Why is this a bad thing? What seems more pressing, rather than shaming an enterprising and determined student, is the question of why the cost of postgraduate study is so astronomical in the first place. Why are we critiquing Emily-Rose Eastop, rather than the system that leads to these desperate measures?

Visit Emily-Rose’s crowdfunding page here.


Tags: , , , , ,


ForbesHow Crowdfunding Can Supercharge Your Campaign In 2016ForbesThey say that there are about 7.45 billion people living in this world right now. Imagine that if you could get each of these seven-and-a-half billion people to contribute one cent to your project, well, you know what I [...]

ForbesHow Crowdfunding Can Supercharge Your Campaign In 2016ForbesCrowdfunding has helped a lot of businesses recently. Want to join the queue? Here's how to raise funds for your projects.and more » [...]

San Antonio CurrentSan Antonio Cat Cafe Launched 20K Crowdfunding CampaignSan Antonio CurrentAs Austin's Blue Cat Cafe turned one (and dealt with some gnarly vandalization), San Antonio's Cat Cafe launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help open its doors. Casey Steuar [...]

BillboardCrowdfunding for His Life: How GoFundMe Helped Save a Punk Legend's LifeBillboardSo on the advice of a close friend, Julian -- like an increasing number of aging musicians without a lucrative record contract -- turned to crowdfunding, launching a campaign on the No. 1 pl [...]

Minneapolis Star TribuneSEC releases new, relaxed rules on investment crowdfundingMinneapolis Star TribuneNew rules announced this week will make it easier for small companies to raise capital from small-time investors, another step forward for Minnesota's fledgling investment cr [...]

The GuardianCrowdfunding: the new buzzword for academics needing research moneyThe GuardianArchaeologist Dr David Petts, from Durham University, has also used crowdfunding, raising almost £25,000 to fund a project on Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast. The dig, in June, led to [...]

How Crowdfunding Has Changed the Startup GameSingularity HubCrowdfunding has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, funneling millions of dollars into thousands of projects. Technology in particular is one of the leading categories on popular fundraising platforms like Kickstarter an [...]

The RecorderFTC Hears From Company Leaders as Crowdfunding GrowsThe RecorderSACRAMENTO — The future of crowdfunding is one of specialization, with an ever-increasing number of firms finding niches in equity, nonprofit and even creative projects silos, industry leaders told a Federal T [...]

Crowdfunding in commercial real estateJournal Record (subscription)jdavidchapman In 1997, a British rock band funded a reunion tour through online donations from its fans. This may have been the first example of a concept now known as crowdfunding. The crowdfunding industry has quickl [...]

Crowdfund InsiderWhen It Comes to Retail Crowdfunding, SAFEty FirstCrowdfund InsiderOn September 22nd, Crowdfund Insider published a post summarizing the arguments presented in our new essay entitled “Crowdfunding and the Not-So-Safe SAFE“ (forthcoming in Virginia Law Review Online). [...]

CFB Finance

Press Release

CrowdFund Beat News

Hello @CrowdFundBeat's 17363 followers - thank you so much for following! Wishing you all a happy Thursday! >>

Live Crowdfunding .tv

What's Next Step in Regulation A+ JOBS ACTS Title IIII :L Interview : Steve Cinelli with Brian Korn Securities and Crowdfunding/Peer-to-Peer Lending Lawyer, Watch more video library | Conference | Interview | Campaign Showcase | Research | Education |