By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Crowdfunding is becoming more common.

Individuals and groups raise money on the Internet for all kinds of causes.

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But now, some students are asking for donations to help pay their college tuition.

For many students, paying for college is a financial struggle. Raised by a grandmother on Social Security and food stamps, Nick Moran of the South Side graduated last spring from Point Park University on scholarship.

Now he’s about to start graduate school at Columbia University.

“It’s $50,000 a year to basically go to school,” Moran told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.

So to help raise tuition and avoid six-figure loans, Moran created a web page on GoFundMe to solicit donations.

“I thought that that would be a really great way to market myself, and hopefully, end up with some kind of funding to help cut the bill,” said Moran.

He’s hardly alone.

Both GoFundMe and Indiegogo are full of these requests from students for help.

“I see it all the time on my Facebook, people posting their tuitions,” said Jerimiah Elsass, a Point Park junior.

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It’s an attempt to avoid incredible debt.

“They train you while you’re in college to expect to be drowning in debt by the time you’re out, and then you have a six-month grace period and you’re kind of screwed,” added Alyssa Briddes, a Point Park junior.

The fall semester has only just begun and already there are 130,000 GoFundMe educational accounts, and, if you can believe this, they’ve already raised $20 million.

It’s not just for tuition.

Students also raise money for special school projects like an Indiegogo account for Point Park students creating a short film for class.

“We get money from the school, but we’ve now taken it into our own hands trying to get a bigger deal, wanting to do more with our films,” noted Sarah Elliehausen, a Point Park junior.

But even students know you can’t be sure everything on the Internet is legitimate.

“It all really boils down to how they present themselves on the Indiegogo or Kickstarter or whatever they choose, because the more they put in their bio or the video supplements the legitimacy of it,” added Connor Yoho, a Point Park junior.

You might double-check before you give.

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