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AUCian turns to crowdfunding to pay tuition

After missing a financial aid deadline, Ghadeer Mohamed raises $2,000 in less than 24 hours
By: Ahmed Refai

An AUC master’s student has raised in less than 24 hours more than $2,000 (EGP 35,000) as part of a crowdfunding effort to pay tuition fees for the fall semester.

Ghadeer Ahmed Mohamed, who studies at The Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies (IGWS), started a crowdfunding page on the fundraising website “generosity” after an unsuccessful attempt at a temporary study abroad caused her to miss the financial aid deadline.

Mohamed has been on financial aid since joining AUC in 2015, and has continually emphasized her financial independence. She still needs to raise $1,500 to meet her tuition requirements.

On her personal Facebook page, attached to a link to the crowdfunding page, she wrote: “I am the daughter of the class of public sector employees with lower qualifications, and this type of education is not available to me in any way. I want to complete my education because I believe in myself and I believe I can really make a difference in my field.”

Speaking to The Caravan from Beirut, where she is shooting an interview with Saudi TV channel MBC on the online shaming of women in the Arab world, Ghadeer said she feels “challenged, but supported”.

However, even after having met 60 percent of her fundraising goal, Mohamed is running against the clock. Tomorrow morning, Mohamed’s courses will be automatically dropped if she does not pay the amount in full.

“The AUC community donated a considerable amount today. A lot of people helped me, this made me feel very happy,” she said.

“I always have reservations on the system, but individuals remain a source of inspiration to me. A lot of the people who donated today may have not experienced the same damage that this system has inflicted upon me, yet they still chose to help,” she told The Caravan.

Mohamed is the editor-in-chief of Girls’ Revolution, a popular feminist social media publication which brands itself as an NGO. Their page details “the protection of women’s individuality,” “defending the rights of women in a safe public space,” and “stopping the social stereotyping of women,” as some of the organization’s goals.

“I think what she did was amazing, honestly,” said H.F., 19, one of the people who donated to the cause.

“The crowdfunding campaign is not an idea we’re very familiar with, so it’s very smart of her to stick to it to start raising the money. [Ghadeer] is introducing many to an approach to help themselves if they really have a good cause but insufficient funding for it,” H.F. added.

More than 3,000 AUC students are currently on financial aid, a number that has doubled since the devaluation of the Egyptian pound last November.

Sohair Saad, executive director of the office of financial aid, previously told The Caravan that several cases of students who were unable to cover tuition fees have been due to missed financial aid deadlines.

More than 300 appeals for a reconsideration of some students’ financial aid awards were submitted to the office of financial aid. According to Saad, they will be reviewed by a committee and addressed by mid-October.

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