Mom turns to crowdfunding to pay daughter’s college tuition

PHOTO: Lori Truex of Battle Creek, Michigan, stands in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughters college fund. PlayKendall Truex
WATCH Mom turns to community to fund daughter's college tuition

A Michigan mom determined to send her daughter to college debt-free is turning to her community for help.

Lori Truex has been hitting the streets of Battle Creek, Michigan, while holding a sign that says, “Help Send a 4.0 Kid to College.”

The mom of three told ABC News that she started the campaign, "One Mom One Year," out of "frustration" and "desperation" to pay for her daughter's college education.

"Parents need to be talking about this," Truex said. "It's a dirty little secret they don't want to admit to themselves, their coworkers and neighbors--some of us can't afford to send our kids to college."

She went on, "You either make too much for financial assistance or you don't make enough to actually afford to pay for them. We're truly the middle class. We're stuck in the middle."

Lori Truex's daughter, Kendall Truex, 20, is transferring from Kellogg Community College to Michigan State University in the fall to study food science.

Lori Truex said her daughter received a Pell Grant of $1,770 and an MSU student aid grant for $3,600.

She is now left with a bill of $24,000 per year to attend the school.

So Lori Truex started raising money for Kendall's college through a GoFundMe page.

PHOTO: Lori Truex of Battle Creek, Michigan, stands in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughters college fund. Kendall Truex
Lori Truex of Battle Creek, Michigan, stands in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughter's college fund.

On Wednesday, Lori Truex kicked off an official, 79-day fundraising campaign that'll last until the end of summer. Then she'll return to her full-time job as a bus driver.

Lori Truex will stand in various locations in her city while holding a sign asking strangers to contribute to her daughter’s college fund. In two days she has raised $200.

"I call it a social experiment," Lori Truex said. "If you were being totally transparent and honest as to where this money was going would the community respond? It seems to be resonating with people."

Kendall Truex told ABC News she was shocked when her mother told her about the plan to fund her tuition.

"It's not in character for my mom," Kendall Truex said. "For her being out there like this is a really big step for her and I appreciate her doing that for me."

Kendall Truex, who works three different jobs as a lifeguard, said she believes high tuition costs are a problem that needs to be solved.

PHOTO: Kendall Truex, 20, is attending Michigan State University in the Fall to study food science.
Kendall Truex
Kendall Truex, 20, is attending Michigan State University in the Fall to study food science.

"My parents make much too much to be considered poor and need the help, but they don't make enough where they can fork out the cash for me to go to college," she said. "It's this systematic cycle that if you want to reach for the upper class and get out of the middle, you have to get a college education. But then, you have to go into debt and there's no way around it. There needs to be a way to break this cycle."

While many are supportive of her mother's initiative, Kendall Truex said there have been negative comments on social media.

"A lot of people have been saying, 'You have a high GPA, you can [get] scholarships,'" she said. "They don't just hand scholarships out. There are thousands upon thousands of kids competing for these scholarships. There's just not that much financial aid out there. Believe me...I've tried."

Lori Truex added, "I'm just a mom and you will do anything you can for your kids. There's got to be somebody out there that has a solution for this problem. This upsets millions of families, not just mine."

She said she will stand outside as many days as it takes, even in bad weather. She hopes her actions inspire other parents to start a college fund as early as they can.