Grad student's crowdsourcing campaign not enough for Cambridge place

A Canadian student who turned to ‘crowdsourcing' to raise the funds for her postgraduate study at Cambridge has been forced to decline her offer because she was unable to raise enough money.

Karly Drabot, 23, has lived on her own since she was 16 and has funded herself while attending the University of British Columbia (UBC), one of Canada's most prestigious universities. She was offered a place to study for an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology beginning in October this year.

‘Crowdsourcing' is the use of small donations from individuals to raise a target figure, rather than relying on larger loans such as scholarships. While Drabot was able to get funding from her university and the Canadian government, it wasn't enough to cover her fees and living costs. She won $10,000 from UBC earlier this year for her academic success, in addition to a $16,000 loan from the Canadian government. Even with her crowdsourcing funds, she was left $24,000 short of her $50,000 target. She is now attempting to return all the money she received in donations.

"Words cannot express how grateful and appreciative I am," she wrote on her website. "Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and my fundraising efforts. Every donation, website share, and heart-warming email means more than you'll ever know! The financial and moral support I've received has been powerfully humbling, inspiring, and motivating."

The responses she received were not all positive; some people emailed her to tell her that she was selfish, and ought to get a job instead of continuing in education. Drabot claims that this hostility only made her more determined to reach her goal, and to be confident in pursuing it.

Drabot's eventual aim is to work for an international organisation promoting human rights, such as the United Nations. She has said that her failure to raise enough money this year will not deter her, and that she intends to reapply to Cambridge in 2014. In the meantime, she will return to work to raise the money to pursue her goals.

George Morris


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