What cannot be disputed is that post-secondary education is expensive. According to the not-for-profit organization The College Board, in the Unites States alone, university costs have risen from approximately $1600 dollars a year in 1973 to more than $18,000 in 2013 - and this increase shows no sign of slowing down. In order for young people to be able to afford higher education, many are finding unorthodox and in some cases, ingenious ways to pay for the rising cost of tuition.
Worried about how you're going to pay for your own education? Here are 10 unorthodox ways people are earning money to pay for their tuition. Who knows, maybe you can take few pointers.
10 Sperm Banks
Selling sperm can often be time consuming so donors must be ready to commit to a period that ranges from six months to a year. A representative from the Sperm Bank of New York told MSN Money that for this reason they prefer more mature candidates like graduate students. Donors can earn anywhere between $1,300 to $5,500 depending on the amount of times they participate. Women looking to get in on the game are in luck. Ladies who choose to donate their eggs can earn up to $8,000 per donation. Norah, a 24-year-old graduate student told CNN that she earned $6500 for her first egg donation which almost covered her entire first year tuition and that with a few more donations, she would make enough money to cover the cost of her program - about $15,000.
9 Competitive Eating
Who would have thought a love of food could earn you big bucks? Eric Dahl a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate has done just that, earning more than $18,000 from eating contests to help pay for his education. Ranked third in the competitive eating world, Dahl told The NY Daily News, "I'm eating for my education, it helps me get through." He first discovered he had a gift for inhaling food back in 2011 - out for a bite with friends, he was told he wouldn't have to pay for his meal if he completed the restaurant's challenge: 10 minutes to eat a three-pound cheesesteak sandwich. He did it in less than six. Nicknamed 'Silo,' the former computer engineering student has turned himself into a brand - he has more than 2,100 subscribers on his YouTube channel and his most popular video (Dahl wolfing down an 8-pound bacon cheeseburger) has more than one million views.
Back in the summer of 2013, rapper and founding member of Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J took to his twitter to announce a contest: "I'm giving out a $50k scholarship to the best girl that can twerk." Though most of the contestants were probably thinking, "Why not, I usually shake my booty for free" the moral of this story is to always read the fine print. Turns out that the winner of the contest, 19-year-old Zaire Homes took the time to read the rules which stated that the video must include the contestants "telling or showing" Juicy J why they deserved the scholarship - no twerking required. In her vid, the single mom explained how she would use the scholarship to help pay for med school and had her friends and teachers explain why she deserved it. "Fifty thousand is a lot of money," Juicy J said in the video he made to announce the winner. "And I just don't wanna waste it on some chick twerking her ass!"
7 Donating Plasma
"Donating plasma was so easy," Ohio student Megan Potts told The BG News. "You pretty much just sit there and you make money." Earning anywhere from $50 to $100 a week, the senior didn't regret her choice. "It was a nice little add-on to my other paycheque since I didn't work much because not much was going on on-campus," she said. The procedure which takes approximately 30-60 minutes, is relatively simple and safe and donors must meet the following requirements: a minimum of 18-years-old, at least 110-pounds and in good health.
6 Begging For Donations
After four years of hard studying (and hard partying) it's finally over - you've earned your degree! So now you're probably unemployed and have a ton of debt. It's something millions of grads know so well. By the time she graduated, Kelli Space a 23-year-old Northeastern student had acquired a sociology degree and $200 thousand dollars in student debt. Worried she wouldn't be able to keep up with the monthly payments, she launched a blog where she wrote about her money struggles and asked people for donations. Just eight short months later, Space had received more than $10 thousand dollars from the generosity of strangers. And Kelli's story isn't an isolated incident. No social media channel is out of bounds for financially overwhelmed students looking for a handout.
A story recently featured on Good Morning America addressed the latest and in some cases most profitable way young men and women are earning tuition money - stripping. Dubbed the 'G-string scholarship', college students across North America are taking it all off to put themselves through school. Maggie, a 23-year-old Maryland college student studying to be an international affairs lawyer told GMA that by stripping just four nights a week, she makes $180,000 a year and will actually be taking a pay cut once she becomes a lawyer. Across the pond in Canada, a Windsor, Ontario strip club owner recently made headlines when he placed ads in print and online offering women tuition and cash bonuses if they danced at his club. To qualify for the tuition reimbursement, girls must achieve a B average or higher. "At worst it’s being opportunistic and at best it’s a way for the girls to better themselves," the owner told CBC News. "No one is taking advantage of anybody."
4 Social Networking
According to Stefan Patrick of MyGirlFund.com, students aged 18-22 comprise 25 per cent of the social network's more than 6,000 female member base. In an interview with MarketWired he says the trend suggests that women are "pursuing creative ways of earning tuition money in the face of a sluggish summer job market." So what exactly is Mygirlfund? According to the website, it's an "online community where guys and girls are able to interact in a casual and fun environment. Guys sponsor the girls and contribute to their fund in order to help them achieve their specific goals." Patrick goes on to say that the girls set their own prices and work from their own homes. "We know that a number of young women have earned degrees, undergraduate and graduate, with the contributions they receive on MyGirlFund and that many others are able to support their families. At the very least, the new girls will be able to partially defray exorbitant tuition costs while doing what many are likely already doing on social media sites like Facebook, tumblr and Instagram."
3 Auctioning Off Virginity
Back in 2009, shock jock Howard Stern made headlines when it was announced that a 22-year-old San Diego woman using the pseudonym of 'Natalie Dylan' would appear on his radio show to kick off the auction of her virginity in exchange for the tuition money she would need to obtain her master's degree. "We live in a capitalist society," she told The New York Daily News. "Why shouldn't I be allowed to capitalize on my virginity?" The highest bid was placed by 'Romeo' a real estate businessman from Australia. Unfortunately his $3.8 million dollar offer fell through the cracks because someone was a little upset when she found out - his wife.
2 Working In The Adult Industry
"Exciting, thrilling, and empowering." These are the three words Duke University student, "Lauren" used to describe her experiences working in the porn industry. In an open letter and using an alias, the freshman goes on to explain that starring in a porn video gave her the opportunity to graduate from school debt-free. "Porn has allowed me to set boundaries on what it is that I want to do," she explained. "Everything that I do, I do willingly, I do consensually, and I do because I love doing it." Though she never states how much she earned starring in the x-rated film, a representative from Duke did comment on the high cost of attending their university issuing a statement with regards to the more than $61,000 tuition, room and board. "We can't comment on any specific situation, but whenever we identify a student in need of support, we reach out to them and offer the many resources that we available on campus to assist them."
1 Sugar Daddies
Sugar Daddy websites are all the rage. Female college and university students or 'Sugar Babies' are taking advantage of the abundance of choices available by soliciting donations in exchange for services rendered. One of Canada's most popular site, Seeking Arrangements claims to have over 130,000 Canadian members who are students or graduates and one million members world-wide. In an interview with CBC News, "Kelly' a 23-year-old student member said the site set her up with a 40-year-old married man who gives $300 dollars for every date they go on. "[I] wasn't going to sugar-coat it. I'm not going to be like, 'Oh, I'm looking for fun and nothing.' It's like I'm on this because I need a little bit of support. And the guys on there know that, too, and they want to help you." Other members have requested amounts that range from $1000- $10,000 from their prospective Sugar Daddies. In an interview with GQ, owner Brian Wade defends the site. "I wanted to create a site where I could meet beautiful, open-minded women - simple as that. The stereotypical notions of gold-digging women and lecherous old men just don't apply any more. This is not what we're about. I believe this site is the future of modern dating."