Here to There is a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for students seeking tuition support. As the name suggests, we’re dedicated to helping students get from where they are to where they want to be, without having to sign their future away to predatory lending services.
Student debt is here, huge, and still growing. In the US, student debt has reached $1.2 trillion, with the class of 2015 having the highest average debt per student than any other cohort before. In the US alone, there are over 43 million student loan borrowers. That’s a pretty big group of people wishing there was a better way. What’s worse is that only about 37 percent were making regular, on-time payments in 2014. And those are the lucky ones. There are many more bright minds in countries where student loans simply don’t exist, leaving college out of reach. We aim to eliminate higher education’s financial hurdle by enabling students to market themselves in front of a global audience. The best part is, unlike other crowdfunding sites, we won’t take a cut from students’ hard-earned money (aside from the third-party payment processing fee)!
Students will have a media rich platform with which to tell the lush story of their identity to the world. Rather than being confined to a few predefined questions on a form or an essay topic of someone else’s choosing, they’ll be able to upload videos of themselves dancing, singing, creating, tinkering, and living! They’ll have the ability to designate their basic goal (second choice university) and their stretch goal (their top choice). That money will be sent directly to the student’s designated college or university, limiting the potential for misuse.
Donors will be able to search student profiles and make either a one-time or recurring monthly payment in the amount of their choice. At the same time they’ll be able to purchase profile boosts for the student. At the discretion of the student, the boosts will be used to randomly display their profile on a prominent section of the homepage for a fixed period, increasing their exposure.
Additionally, in anticipation of serving students in other countries, we’ve taken the time to ensure we build a perfectly functioning mobile version. That’s a huge deal considering that people in emerging and developing countries increasingly use smartphones rather than fixed landline connections and computers to access the internet. In Malaysia, for example, 72% of 18- to 34-year-olds own a smartphone, and with the emergence of $30 smartphones coming out of the Asian market, internet access in the developing world is set to increase exponentially.
Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!
Oh wait, no. Come meet her, and her friend.
Here to There has a sole founder, but is helped along by many stellar volunteers that believe in the mission. Artemisa Phillips laid the initial groundwork for the company last year, and has since been working her butt off to keep things moving. She emptied her savings to cover a chunk of the startup costs and relies on smart people with big hearts to keep things afloat in this early stage. The most recent superstar is Olenka. When she isn’t giving her time to causes, she’s earning her Masters in Health and Social Well-being at a Buddhist university in Wollongong, Australia. Talk about living the life! But in between the sun and fun, she is aggressively managing this campaign and spreading the word! You can learn more about this power duo in their profiles.
Our founder didn’t have student loan debt.
So, why does she care so much?
The summer before Artemisa started her freshman year of college, she met a few other people through a Facebook page set up by the university for accepted applicants. It was a place where students could chat and get to know each other before starting the year. She quickly developed a few friendships and was looking forward to the next few years of study. But before the summer was over a couple students confided they weren’t able to attend because they just couldn’t gather the last bit of tuition needed, despite a robust financial aid package from the university. These students lived in a developing country, so loans weren’t a reliable option. The reality of that hit Artemisa hard. She wondered how obviously brilliant and proven minds could be allowed to go to waste.
It wasn’t until two years later that she thought of a potential solution. Crowdfunding is an amazing thing and yet no one was leveraging its power for tuition. She thought that investment in the future is valuable to many, so maybe we just need an easier way for people to do it, and maybe students need a more concise platform for marketing themselves. And so, the seed was planted. Today, Here to There’s mission has far reaching benefits. To find out why you should help us get going, keep reading!
Don’t help because you love education.
Do it because you’re a hateful curmudgeon!
Support this if you hate:
- Predatory lending practices and high interest student loans that aren’t actually lining anyone’s pockets because only 37% of borrowers are making regular, on time payments.
- Not finding the talent your business needs either because they’re snatched up by competition, or they’re just not entering your industry. Our platform will enable companies to peek at fresh talent before it even enters the job market and offer an opportunity to curry favor by supporting their education. Companies can also persuade on-the-fence students to join their industry by offering scholarships directly on the site.
- That bright minds in poorly managed countries don’t have the option of education loans or financial aid, putting college out of reach.
- That “kids these days” are always asking for handouts. Believe us, convincing a crowd of people that you’re worth their investment is not only tough as heck, but also a valuable life skill!
- The abysmal number of college dropouts (42%). Some of that is due to an inability to pay for four years of classes. But also, most people are directed to college without knowing what they actually want to learn. Part of the problem is that we receive the most support in searching for financial aid during our last years of high school, but if people knew that at any time they wouldn’t be able to earn enough money to pay for school, we might have fewer students going to college for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time.
Your penny won’t just pay for thoughts.
Take a gander at the breakdown for our $20,000 goal.
We’ve fronted a lot of the initial costs, but we need your help raising enough to finish it out and keep it going. Here’s what we plan to do with the funds:
- $15,000 Paying a professional to build the site. We’ve already paid for the initial work, like wireframes. Our developer is standing by waiting for the green light to start building the final product!
- $1,500 First year of recurring costs such as servers, domain registration, etc.
- $1,200 Legalese for the user agreement and what not
- $2,300 cushion for incidentals and hiccups
Anything we earn above this will absolutely go towards the costs of improving user experience for the site and expanding its reach to institutions outside the US. At the moment we are only working with US colleges and universities, but once that process is perfected we plan to open up to non-US institutions. The administrative process for working with foreign institutions and currencies, especially in emerging markets, is HUGE, though, so we won’t be able to do that unless we exceed our basic goal.
No creative headline here.
Just a serious schedule.
Since this is an educational product, we’re bound by the basic US school schedule. In anticipation of Fall 2016’s incoming students, we’ve set a launch date of mid-April. That means in just a few months current college applicants will have access to this tool! What?! Crazy! Let’s take a closer look at the production schedule:
- February 14: Basic Sign in / Sign Up functionality and basic home page design.
- February 29: Complete student functionality
- March 14: Complete donor functionality
- March 31: Testing, tweaks, and bug fixes
- April 15: Launch!!!
We could be helping students achieve their dreams of going to college in just a few months!
The Next Step…
…is yours to take.
With one donation here, you’ll be enabling countless students. Every single student that funds their education through Here to There will have had their dreams fulfilled thanks to every contributor here. Without you, the financial hurdle to education will remain as large as ever. So, please help us realize this platform for educational attainment, social advancement, and global benefit!