Crowdfunding is arguably one of the most important technological developments we have seen this decade. For some background information on crowdfunding for those who are maybe less familiar with it, check out this informational video:
While crowdfunding has typically focused on small business and entrepreneurial developments, it actually has many creative uses and funding higher eduction is one of them! I’m very inspired by the efforts of Nazia Mintz-Habib, and her organization Nakoo, which is beginning to spin the wheels in motion for revolutionizing the way we fund education. Nakoo is a Kiva meets Kickstarter effort. Kiva is a non-profit organization which allows people to loan money to aspiring business starters and entrepreneurs in underdeveloped or impoverished countries, and Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. However, unlike Kiva, the money donated through Nakoo is not a loan – Nakoo is an online platform which brings students in need of tuition support together with contributors or companies who can fund them. In case you were wondering, Nakoo also means “tallest tree” in the Mayan language.
Prospective students can put together a profile on Nakoo’s website, including information such as the school they attend, the amount of funding they need, and any other relevant personal information. So far, Nakoo has only launched 1 month ago, and is featuring 4 students on its Alpha version while looking for feedback from users.
I’m very excited to follow the growth and development of Nakoo, and think crowdfunding is a very creative and tech-savy way for raising the needed funds to attend college. However, part of me also fears that resources such as Nakoo and their success could take away from the bigger picture and the larger conversation that needs to be had, such as the fact that higher education is quickly becoming more of a necessity, but also less and less affordable for many. I hope that this technological outsourcing to crowdfunding platforms does not take away from the urgency of creating better institutional support and institutional funding or an overhaul of the federal financial aid system that has increasingly become compromised of high interest loans.
While we can only wait and see what the future may hold for making higher education more accessible and affordable, Nakoo is definitely an organization to keep on your radar!
- With The Rise Of Crowdfunding In Higher Education, Donating To Your Alma Mater Could Be Cool Again (fastcoexist.com)
- Crowdfunding: Savvy strategy or waste of time? (bizjournals.com)