Lea Elui, a French social media influencer, was able to raise $50,000 in three days for college thanks to her online presence.
For high school students, coming up with the money to pay for four years of college can be a daunting task. After all, the average cost of attending a four-year university in the U.S. is about $40,000, and the average student loan debt per borrower is about $28,000. But one 17-year-old old year was able to the raise money she needed for her first year of college in just three days.
Lea Elui is a French social media influencer with more than five million Instagram followers and 427,000 followers on Triller, according to VentureBeat. Triller is an app that lets users create a video using a snippet of their favorite song and then adding a video filter. The app’s social features allow users to follow each other and search for new videos.
And now, the app is offering a monetization feature where users can raise money for their purpose-driven goals. Elui was the first to try out this new feature and was able to raise $50,000 for her college fund. Elui created four videos on Triller to promote her campaign. More than 3,000 supporters helped her hit her fundraising goal.
“We’ve worked with Lea for a while, but it surprised us to see the quickness of making her goal,” Mike Lu, the CEO of Triller, told VentureBeat. Lu hopes that this new feature will allow the app to be able to compete with other sites like Musical.ly, where Elui first became popular.
Elui says she is surprised her videos ended up being so popular, saying, “I guess when people watch my content I make them happy.” Elui still has a year of high school left and says she isn’t sure where she wants to attend college, although she would like to live in the U.S. someday.
Social media fame may sound easy but don’t be fooled; each video takes Elui about five hours to make. For others who are interested in learning how to build an audience on social media, Elui’s advice is to have fun and not try too hard.
For high school students who are beginning to plan for college, there are a number of ways they can pay for school. Crowdfunding is always an option, although this will be easier for people with large social media followings.
Work-study programs are a good option for students that are hoping to pay for school without taking out loans. Private student loans are also another viable alternative. Students should also get an early start on researching and applying for college scholarships. Though it is still a good idea for all students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what kind of federal aid they will qualify for.