This is a blog for professionals, so I feel fairly safe in guessing that 99% of my readers know what it's like to have student loans hanging over your head. Whether you're still paying off your own student loans, or you're now saving for your own kid's college education, we always seem to be giving up part of our paycheck for education.
Which is why I wish I'd had Michael Kopko's entrepreneurial stroke of genius first. A student at Columbia Business School, Kopko had the creativity to apply the cutting-edge concepts of social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn to the time-honored tradition of bribing kids to get good grades. His website is GradeFund.com, and it allows students to set up profiles (just as they would on the social media sites) and then invite friends and family to sponsor their education by pledging various amounts of money for marks of achievement. Money for grades—what could be more simple?
The beauty of it (especially to a literature snob such as me) is that you can actually choose to pledge your $20 for any A (or B, or C) or you can specify that you'd like to sponsor good grades only in your favorite subject. So I, for example, could decide that I really don't care what my nephew gets in his Health class, but that I'll give him $100 if he gets an A in British Literature. Oh the power!
Parents have been doing this for years, now aunts and uncles get to be in on the fun. Although I should mention that if you don't have any nieces or nephews, sons or daughters, but want to be a patron of education anyway, you can still become a sponsor on GradeFund. This could be the perfect way for lawyers who don't have quite enough to start "The John Smith Law Scholarship" at their alma mater to encourage and contribute to the next generation law students.
Personally, I plan to use it to build an army of Shakespeare nerds.