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: , , , , ,


This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at [...]

NPRAfter Outcry, Crowdfunding Site Patreon Backs Off Plan To Raise ...NPRThe popular crowdfunding service Patreon has backed off plans to change its payment structure, after widespread, vocal and passionate opposition from creators and their fans. Last week, the site announced it woul [...]

EntrepreneurWhy Some Small Business Owners Are Turning to Crowdfunding to Save Their CompanyEntrepreneurMany owners of beloved local businesses, especially in pricier cities, have been forced to swallow their pride and appeal to their customers in times of crisis -- a process streamli [...]

TechCrunchHow hate speech crowdfunding outfit Hatreon crept back online ...TechCrunchIf you want to make a living creating white supremacist content, you're probably not going to do it via sites like Kickstarter and Patreon, which prohibit hate speech. Fortunately there's Ha [...]

ForbesCrowdfunding Do's And Dont's From iFundWomen's Karen CahnForbesDuring our conversation, she was transparent in sharing that her first software company, VProud, failed because she “did everything backwards” and spent too much time trying to perfect the product. “Pe [...]

CoinDeskKickstarter ICO? Don't Count On It Says Crowdfunding Leader ...CoinDeskThe company most widely associated with crowdfunding, Brooklyn-based Kickstarter, has no plans to get into the initial coin offering (ICO) business. Coming in response to the news yesterday that compet [...]

Crowdfunding bid to cut car cover for millennials | Business | The ...The TimesAn insurance start-up that claims it can reduce premiums for millennials will launch a £15m initial coin offering (ICO) next month in another sign of the growin.and more » [...]

TechCrunchFormer Gawker employees are crowdfunding an effort to buy Gawker.comTechCrunchWhile Univision acquired most of Gawker Media's sites last year (and renamed them as the Gizmodo Media Group), the deal didn't include Gawker itself. In fact, BuzzFeed reported last month [...]

Crowdfunding For French CastlesNPRYou too can own a French chateau, in part, anyway. Romain Delaume, CEO of Dartagnans, tells NPR's Scott Simon about a crowdfunding effort underway to preserve La Mothe-Chandeniers. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: What if I told you that for about $60, you cou [...]

CryptoCoinsNewsCrowdfunding Giant Indiegogo Looks to Make ICOs MainstreamCryptoCoinsNewsCrowdfunding platform Indiegogo has a plan to help initial coin offerings (ICOs) break into the mainstream, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ramping up its oversight of [...]

CFB Finance


  • Crowdfunding
  • Crowdfund
  • Peer to Peer Lending
  • FinTech
  • Reg A+
  • Reg CF
  • Crowdfunding USA

Press Release

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 |