Crowdfunds pay for student’s fall tuition

The future of Tessa Wilkerson’s college career depended on a website she created in 10 minutes. One month before her senior year, her college savings ran out. As a last resort, Wilkerson registered her story on a crowdfunding website called She had paid her way through college since her sophomore year, when her parents cut her off financially. They refused to support her college education after she transferred to IU from Brigham Young University. Not only was it cheaper, but BYU was considered the only college option for her family, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Wilkerson said. “They said their money was only good at BYU,” she said. A Stafford Loan she applied for and savings from a part-time teaching job covered only a fraction of this fall’s tuition. A friend directed her to Within 24 hours of registering, she received more than $7,000 in donations. Parents of friends, high school acquaintances and strangers donated enough money to keep her enrolled. “They saved me,” Wilkerson said. Wilkerson’s struggle began during her freshman year at BYU in Utah. As a lesbian attending the largest religious university in the United States, she faced misunderstanding and […]

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