Last week, a local news station in Boston mentioned a website called GradeFund. It seems I get at least 10 public relations people e-mail me each day, but I haven't been hit up for GradeFund yet.
What is GradeFund and How Does it Work?
Students ask their family and friends to sponsor them in their quest for great grades. Sponsors can choose to offer various amounts for each grade the student achieves. It's not entirely clear from their about page, but it seems that the lowest you can go is $5 for every A grade. GradeFund collects the money, verifies transcripts (this sounds like a difficult task if grades are done like they were in my elementary school. I see no age or grade level minimum for using the service), and distributes the money. They keep a percentage of the money that is at least 5% ($5 for every $100. If you don't get $100 and you want to clear out your account, you still have to pay a $5 processing fee.)
Why is GradeFund a Great Idea
I think it's a great idea to motivate people towards good grades. Young people need motivation just like everyone else. I know when I was young, a few dollars would have gone a long way towards getting me studying when I may have felt like giving up. Money can serve as a powerful carrot.
Another reason why it might be a good idea... people could use the extra money when in school. Without a job, my wife didn't have a way of supporting herself. Plenty of people get jobs and study at the same time, but it seems like it would be great if they could focus on their studies. This may be a way for that to happen (though, you'd need extremely generous sponsors).
Why do I Hate GradeFund
I guess I don't hate GradeFund, it's more of a dislike. However, a title of "GradeFund?: A Great Idea That I Dislike" seemed poor to me. Here are the three problems I have with GradeFund:
- Good Grades Should Be Its Own Reward - I was very jealous when my friends got money for good grades. My mother always said "good grades were its own reward." I think I knew at the time that she was right, but I understand it a lot better now.
- Is GradeFund Panhandling Your Relatives? - I'm sure my mother would say the only thing worse than not believing that good grades were it's own reward, would be me signing up and hitting up grandma for cash. She would consider that obnoxious and I agree. If grandmother wants to give money for good grades, why can't she look at the report card on the refrigerator and give out some cash?
- Airing Out Your Family's Financial Information - My wife brought this up. She came from a poor, but proud family. In her culture it would be completely unacceptable to put yourself on this service. To her it's tantamount to admitting that you need money. I'm not going to judge a culture for right or wrong, it's not my place, just saying that it exists. This could be a big negative.
In my mind, the negatives outweigh the positives. What's your take? Am I making too much of something that's intended to be a helpful tool?
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