Crowdfunding, as seen through platforms like Kickstarter & 33Needs, is a highly effective, proven method of raising capital, but has yet to be applied to the world of student-centered education. Takeashine, a brand-new New Orleans-based 501(c)(3) is harnessing this cutting-edge form of technology to connect low-income students with donors in order to make college a reality.
Launched late last week, Takeashine is an online crowdfunding platform for underprivileged students who risk missing out on higher education because they cannot meet their college costs. Nationwide, enrollment in four-year colleges for low-income students was 40% in 2004, down from 54% in 1992. The reason: families are unable to cover skyrocketing college costs. This is especially true in New Orleans, as families continue to rebuild in the wake of natural and financial disaster. While there are numerous groups in New Orleans bringing tremendous reforms to the city’s educational landscape, there remains a gap in funding options for low-income students looking for means by which to afford higher education.
“Without a doubt, one of the biggest burdens faced by families today is the inability to pay for a student’s higher education,” said Takeashine Founder/Director, Sarah Baird. “That’s where Takeashine comes in. A first-of-its-kind model, Takeashine is more cost-effective than loans, more readily available than scholarship funds & targeted specifically on crowdfunding for college.”
A Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans New Venture Accelerator Fellow, Takeashine has launched this fall with a pilot class of five high school seniors, who will each raise $5,000 between September 23 and December 15 to cover their college funding gap. Takeashine is also participating in SENO’s PitchNOLA 2011 on October 6th as one of ten finalists.
On February 1, 2012, after studying the outcomes and best practices from the Fall 2011 pilot, Takeashine will officially open up the platform to all students in the city of New Orleans. Takeashine plans to grow to three new cities per year nationwide from 2012 to 2015, bringing the total number of cities of operation to ten over the next three years.
“Making the leap from high school to higher education shouldn’t be cost dependent, and we’re here to see no child misses out on college due to its high price tag,” said Baird.