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Crowdfunding for College

Fundageek has a more specific goal than the others. Here, technology projects, scientific research and inventions are the main subjects for the fund raising.

Fundageek charges 5% on the funds raised, unless the student chooses to use premium Marketing Resources, in which case a 9% fee is charged. This site also uses PayPal, which will charge a credit card processing fee.

The project's contributions varied from a few dollars to over $2,000. The geeks also tend to promise rewards to donors, not unlike Kickstarter.

Upstarts is a little different from the other crowdfunding Web sites because the students take the money up front, but then are willing to fork over some of the income for ten years. The site was started by a team of ex- Google (GOOG - Get Report) employees and is backed by some well-known venture capital funds and investors, like (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff and Mark Cuban.

Some Upstarts are looking for money to start business ventures, but many are just looking for help to retire loans or pay for workshops. Backers can follow the Upstarts' progress.

If an Upstart doesn't pay back the money, the obligation is turned into a standard loan at a fixed rate of 14.99%. It looks to have a good success rate, with seven out of ten upstarts funded successfully. isn't a site to raise money for tuition, but it is focused on kids and school projects.

Some are sports related and some are travel related. There are some requests for funds to travel to competitions and some for parts for a project. One team is raising money for a robotics competition and needs money to build the robot, plus travel costs to submit the robot for competitions.

Piggybackr also helps the student with guidelines on how to create a fundraising page and drive the social media attention to get donations.

Granted, these aren't scholarships, nor are we talking about huge amounts of money. However, a few hundred dollars could make the difference for many of these students.

Selling cupcakes for a dollar just doesn't cut it these days, when you need hundreds of dollars to attend a competition, build a robot, or to buy helmets for a team. Plus, as schools cut back on the funds available to students, the student has had to get creative in order to have the same experience as people from wealthier schools.

In other cases, it's as simple as a single working mom that just needs some help buying books and materials. These crowdfunding sites are today's equivalent of selling candy and the results can be sweet.

--Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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