Prayers are answered as future nun gets her student debt paid off

Alida Taylor

Source: Go finance me

God and crowdfunders help those who help themselves.

Alida Taylor of Clifton, NJ, was unable to join the Sisters of Life, a Roman Catholic religious community in the Bronx, until she had paid off her college debt. Under Roman Catholic canon law, a person should not be admitted to a religious institute if they have a debt that cannot be repaid.

So she started a GoFundMe country on June 29 to raise $12,000 to pay off student loans. As word spread, donations poured in, including an anonymous $4,505. She surpassed her goal on July 14. Her campaign has now raised over $14,500.

Student Loan Crowdfunding

It appears the backers are sending Taylor, who could not be reached for comment, to the convent. It is not uncommon for student borrowers, even those with less religious vocations, to seek help from friends, family, and strangers online or otherwise.

According to estimates by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy for, a college and scholarship search site, the average college graduate had student loan debt of $37,000 in 2016. .

Taylor isn’t the first to turn to crowdfunding to reduce student debt. For example, in 2012, Kelli Space, a 2009 Northeastern University graduate with an undergraduate degree in sociology and more than $200,000 in debt, used her website to solicit donations to pay off her loans. She received $10,000.

“The most effective crowdfunding is asking your friends and family,” Kantrowitz said. In his experience, borrowers may have more success applying face-to-face than via email or Facebook.

Tax implications

As long as crowdfunders donate less than $14,000 this year, they pay no tax on it. However, the tax implications for the people receiving the money are unclear, depending on how they use the funds.

Crowdfunding campaigns for student loans can cause the IRS to ask questions about the money and how it was used.

Accounting professors Cheryl Metrejean and Britton McKay of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, who have studied the tax implications of crowdfunding, recommend that people who use fundraising sites, such as GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter, keep detailed records to show that money generated from campaigns are gifts, not income. Activists who collect gifts should also be careful not to offer goods or services in exchange for donations.

Money raised on crowdfunding platforms is not free. Many sites, including GoFundMe used by Taylor, charge fees. For example, GoFundMe automatically deducts 5% from every donation.

The Church and the Debt

Even the Roman Catholic Church is not immune to the high costs of student debt.

Nine out of 10 Catholic religious orders have asked at least one person to delay their application because of student loans and 70% have refused at least one person because of student debt, according to a 2013 study by the National Religious Vocation Conference, an organization that studies religious orders in the United States

Some religious orders pay stipends — typically $15,000 to $20,000 — to prospective members to pay off student debt if the orders can afford it, said Paul Bednarczyk, the Executive Director of the National Religious Vocations Conference. Religious orders are independent of the Vatican and are responsible for their own finances.

“There’s no big checkbook in the sky that we can use to pay off this debt,” Bednarczyk said.

About Sonia Martinez

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