With its motto “#FundingtheFuture”, the London based organization EdAid is an online world for displaying talents to find supporters to invest. Launched in 2015 by founder Tom Woolfe and his team, the organization is increasingly visible across the media.
The system EdAid uses is simple enough: All students have to do is register and create a profile for supporters to pick from. The process helps students as they “benefit by learning about themselves because whenever you have to sell yourself you have to first know what skills, what qualities do I have that are going to appeal to other people,” College Counselor Ivan Hauck said.
Hannah Link (’16), believes EdAid’s ability to help students raise funds interest free is extremely “necessary”, given “how high and crippling student debt can be.”
In order to complete their profiles, students have to step out of their day-to-day self and observe who they are from a holistic perspective. This can be challenging for some, as the pressure to create the “perfect profile feels competitive, that suddenly you realize you’re competing with other people to get the most investment moving forward,” Hauck said.
The advantage of the process is that the financial loans are seen not just as service in the present, but as something that helps students construct a path to future jobs.
“I would definitely take part in [EdAid] because it’s not free money but it’s somewhere to start. A lot of people don’t have that jumping off point which I think is a great thing they’re providing,” Link said.
However, Hauck points out a potential flaw in the system. “If you’ve gone to schools all your life where you have technology access and you know how to create a profile…that’s going to help you more in the process than somebody who doesn’t have [those] resources,” he said.
Luke Zeigler (’17), disagrees. “I almost feel like this is targeted to people less like ASL who might have less opportunity or less support; in that sense I’m not certain if I would myself [participate in EdAid].”
Despite disagreements about the target market for EdAid, the organization is changing the way that students fund their education. The cost of education is rising at an exponential rate, and the burden of debt that students potentially have to carry can be a huge disincentive to go into higher education. Starting life without debt is very likely to transform the lives of students who would, if such a facility had not been available, been reluctant to take their education forward.