Howard University Students Turn To GoFundMe To Help Pay For Tuition

Howard University Students Turn To GoFundMe To Help Pay For Tuition

Howard University

Search results from GoFundMe campaigns of Howard University students. (Screenshot / GoFundMe)

Hundreds of Howard University students are using GoFundMe to help raise money for their tuition.

According to a report by Fox 5, over 200 students who attend the high-profile, Washington, D.C.-based HBCU have active campaigns running on the platform.

Jaleen Bondieumaitre is one of those students. A native of Miami Gardens, Florida, the college sophomore overcame the odds of homelessness and other challenges his family faced to graduate with honors from Miami Carol City Senior High School.

Bondieumaitre continues to excel academically at Howard. He has a 3.75 GPA and is on the Dean’s List, according to his campaign’s description. In addition to his GoFundMe, he’s doing everything within his power to continue his education at Howard.

“My goal is $10,980, and I think .74 cents,” Bondieumaitre told Fox 5. “I have taken out the maximum amount of loans that I can because I’m a Pell Grant student. … While the alumni did tell me they would donate money and help me raise money, I know that I can’t all rely on them. I need to actually work towards it myself.” 

Bondieumaitre worked two jobs over winter break, a paid internship his freshman year and is preparing to start another paid internship, according to Fox 5.

At the time of this writing, Bondieumaitre’s GoFundMe campaign had raised $6,130, up from $2,626 when Fox 5’s story aired. He’s still nearly $4,000 short of his goal.

He is not alone.

JaLynn Davis is a graduating senior at Howard who started a campaign with a goal of $15,000 to complete her education. She surpassed her goal and has raised $24,791 to date.

Jaden Ellison raised $54,611, far surpassing his campaign’s $8,000 goal after being blessed with a $50,000 donation from NBA champion Kyrie Irving.

The latter two are among the more successful ones. Like Bondieumaitre, many Howard University students have yet to reach their GoFundMe goals.

According to its website, Howard University’s current cost of attendance is $30,584 for tuition and $466 in fees for undergraduate students. Those in need of room and board will pay an additional $10,262 for housing and $5,618 for a meal plan. That does not include books and supplies, transportation and other miscellaneous costs.

This year’s tuition at Howard University is up 7 percent, something the school attributes to inflation and rising costs. It’s a fact some are scratching their heads about, particularly after the HBCU received very generous donations in recent years, including a staggering $40 million from MacKenzie Scott in 2020.

At the time, Howard President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick said the university would use the gift to help support its strategic plan, in part by helping underwrite its Graduation and Retention Access to Continued Excellence Grant (GRACE) program. 

GRACE is a needs-based grant program that provides a 100% match for students receiving the maximum Federal Pell Grant.

“Thanks to Ms. Scott’s gift, and the accompanying positive publicity, we hope that other donors will follow her example to lift the financial burden off of deserving students and help make ends meet so they can focus on graduating on time,” Frederick said in a statement at the time. “With this unrestricted donation, we now have the opportunity to expedite our efforts and fund the initiatives in a way that will reap benefits for generations to come.”

Some social media users said the school has received enough money between Scott’s donation, its Department of Defense contract and other donors to help cover students’ tuition.

“With all that DoD funding Howard is getting ($90 million contract) now the least that they can do is lower tuition,” @1914Ados tweeted. “Sad indeed!”

One user criticized the priority many media and the public have focused on HBCU athletics instead of its scholars, while another said they wished they could fund the students themselves.

“While everyone wants to discuss athletics and facalities (sic) and what folks have and don’t have, we have young scholars struggling to stay in school,” Twitter user @Apartylife357 wrote in response to the article.

“Breaks my heart,” a Twitter user identified as Teresa Grant, whose profile says she is a Howard alum wrote. “This is why I’d love to hit the lottery. A lot of young people out here doing bad. These kids just want an education and a chance at life. My heart hurts for them.”

Others said Howard students’ plight highlighted the need for reparations for Black Americans.

“It’s awful. Knowing it doesn’t have to be this ways makes it so much worse. Free college should be part of our reparations package,” @kgradyback2life tweeted.

“#Reparations now or a slow death,” @Blackcapitalis wrote.

PHOTO: Search results from GoFundMe campaigns of Howard University students. (Screenshot / GoFundMe)