It seems that our society is getting more and more monetary, and everything you can imagine is for sale. People are coming up with new ways to make money, and technology is helping entrepreneurs do this easily. One idea that has been coming up recently is making money from grades. Using cash as an incentive to do well in school is an old idea. Parents have been giving their kids gifts for grades probably ever since school started.
A website called “GradeFund” has recently been created to give students money for A’s. As of today, 16,664 people have signed up. You make an account pretty quickly, and then you use their templates and forms to invite and ask friends, family, and/or corporate sponsors in your major of study to commit to paying you for As and Bs (C’s do not warrant any money, so sorry to all those mediocrity-seeking students).
It is a neat idea, and I’m sure it will encourage some students to work harder. The web page has an easy-to-use interface, and payment to the students by sponsors is through credit cards. You need to raise $100 before money is sent out (either to you, or to the school as specified by donor); otherwise you have to give them $5 to get the money. GradeFund gets a small percentage, and you can specify that the money goes to the school directly.
But the question arises – does paying for grades encourage students or make the accomplishment less noble? The reality is that it depends on many factors. For some college students, it may indeed encourage them to work a lot harder while still maintaining their principles and morals. It is also a great idea for students on a tight budget. If Adam finds five donors who will commit $20 for each ‘A’ he gets, and he gets straight A’s in his four courses, then he’ll end up getting $400 to offset the cost of books, food and medicine. However, It does take quite a bit of effort to garner donors, also, especially in today’s tough economic climate.
For other students, however, it may give them less enjoyment from the learning they received. They may be thinking mainly about the money. There is also the risk that some students will avoid difficult classes in order to make more cash at the end. And some students may even be tempted to cut corners in order to get good grades. Students should realize that good grades are their own reward. Although getting money is nice, you can’t expect relatives who had to go through much harder situations during their college years commit to giving you money for each ‘B’ you get.
For students in middle and high schools, local school districts have considered cash rewards recently. It is a controversial and divisive issue. There is a worry that students will not appreciate knowledge as much if it’s tied with money. There is an intrinsic value to education that students may be blinded to if they are being hired to make good grades.
I personally was interested in GradeFund, but I found it pretty challenging to locate donors. My extended family members mostly live overseas, and in any case I wasn’t going to call up my wealthy uncle for that reason. I thought of some people then ruled them out for various reasons. I looked up random professors with my name, I tried some emails. Face-to-face contacts are the best way, because everyone gets millions of emails and probably is suspicious of all emails asking for money.
Rewarding good grades with money is an old idea that has found some new methods of realization. Overall, it has limited benefits and mostly wealthy students benefit from it. Students should understand that learning is its own reward and that if they get money for it that’s like extra icing on the cake.