Considering what's going on these days at California colleges and universities -- budgets down and fees up -- financial aid is more important than ever for just about any student. But for one creative student in Northern California, financial aid doesn't always come from traditional sources.
Giancarlo Santa Cruz is an aspiring civil engineer putting his mind to work figuring out how he'll pay for next semester at Santa Rosa Junior College before heading to Sacramento State. His parents are facing their own financial issues, so they can't help. He’s applied for and gotten grants and works a part-time job but he still doesn't know how he'll manage to pay for the next semester while still paying for food and gas. Then he came across his best idea yet.
While selling his old textbooks for some cash on Craigslist, it dawned on him: Why not just ask?
"Sometimes you come across obstacles and so you ask for a little bit of help." Santa Cruz said.
He posted a 300-word ad, going to great lengths to make sure anyone who wants to help knows he's legit. He detailed who he is and what courses he's taking, promising progress reports and transcripts for those who give. He's not asking for big bucks, knowing the little things add up. "No donation or sponsorship is too small," his posting says.
Santa Cruz knows there are many deserving students out there, but he’s hoping his story and his honesty make him stand out.
"You know, asking for help is not the easiest thing in the world," Santa Cruz says, "and I know it's a for a good cause and whoever helped me is going to make a difference in my life."