Originally founded in 2008 by Henner and Lilac Mohr as College Degree Fund com, the site was re- launched in 2010 as Sponsor my degree com. Perhaps inspired by the myriad of cyber begging sites the aim of Sponsor my degree com is to “make it possible for students to get free money for college.” The site is open to those planning to attend college, those actually attending, and graduates who are seeking help to pay down student loans or enrol in further studies.
Students can post details of themselves with a photograph, and write about why they need financial help. They can choose to post information such as political or religious leanings, interests and ambitions. The website does not charge the students to post their pleas for monetary aid.
The founders have made provision to prevent the site from being used as a handy way for scammers posing as students to get free money. Student enrolment in college is verified, as is graduation. Donations made to students are paid directly towards either tuition, to a lending institute, or issued as gift certificates for online text books.
Those planning to attend college will have the funds kept in a special account until they are enrolled. Thus those who contribute donations or scholarships through the site need not worry their money will be spent on college parties and beer.
Sponsor my degree com is not a charity. All donations need to be made by credit card. Students who meet the criteria to access any donated funds may do so when the funds reach $20, and they will be charged a $5 processing fee by the site to receive the payment. In addition those who donate will pay 5% of their donation to the site to contribute to card processing fees and maintenance of the site.
Thus if a donor contributes $20 the student will receive $14, but if an individual contributes $1000 the student will receive $945. However if 50 individuals each contributed $20 to a particular student they would receive only $700 of the donated $1000. The minimum donation to an individual student is $5. The website currently advertises that two students have received sponsorships in the amount of $2000 and $3000, which will encourage others to sign up.
Students have nothing to lose by posting their details and requesting money, though it would be advisable to check the written requests before posting them. Current student pleas show examples of glaring errors of spelling and punctuation such as “im not too well with writing”, which makes one wonder how they fare academically at college, and will presumably leave sponsors to move on to browse another student.
It is hard to assess if those who identify themselves as ‘Hispanic Christian democrat female virgin’ have more appeal than those who concentrate on their academic merits, though many do overplay the God card.
It could well be the case that those who post their request for donations may luck out and be discovered by an altruistic sponsor but it is certainly nothing to rely on. Students should rein in any optimism that they are suddenly going to have all their student loans paid off by a convenient philanthropist.