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UB student uses GoFundMe to help pay rent

Posted at 1:22 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 19:04:58-04

On August 31, Marisela Lugo learned she had three days to come up with nearly $1,000.  She received an email explaining her rent was due and Lugo wasn't sure how she'd be able to get the money together.

"I just didn't know how I was going to get the money," she said.  "I showed my mom and she...didn't have the money at all.  Who has $960 to come up with in two days?  I couldn't do it."

The $960 bill included a move-in fee, first month of rent and unexpected fees for her pet cat.

So she decided to create a GoFundMe page.  The popular crowdfunding website is often used to help people pay for medical expenses or recover after a fire destroys their home.  But it's increasingly being used to help students pay for tuition, books and even travel abroad.

Supradeep Dutta researches crowdfunding for the School of Management at UB.  He's noticing more students turning to these websites to fund their education.

"I's not only UB," he said.  "There are students at Harvard, University of Pittsburgh trying to cover their fees and rentals through GoFundMe.  That's good because the community is supporting it."

"I said, I have two days to do this let me do a GoFundMe page and see how it goes," Lugo said.  "If not, I'll have to figure something else out."

In a couple of days, Lugo's page had raised more than $600.  Her family helped cover the remaining money.

Dutta warned that it's easy to find fraudulent GoFundMe pages.  He recommends donating to causes you have a personal connection with.  He also tells page creators to add photos and videos to add credibility to a campaign.