I have seen many novel ways to fund a college education. But Terrance Wyatt, 23, a Clark Atlanta grad student, is offering a slice of his future on eBay for $10,000. He is selling stock in himself. (Ebay pulled the listing as of Thursday afternoon.)
I called the 23-year-old after reading his eBay item on Wednesday. Eighteen credits short of graduating, Wyatt says he has a 3.0 average. The eBay ad reflected his desperation, he says. Grad students don’t get much financial aid, and Clark Atlanta is not exactly flush with extra cash. (Here is a sobering WSJ article on the evaporation of college aid this year.)
“It’s one of those last option things. I have tapped all my resources. I have been through financial aid through the last six years of college. This is pretty much it…this is my last chance to do something.”
As for the disappearance of the ad Thursday, Wyatt said, “Yes, someone from eBay gave me a call today and told me that unfortunately my listing violated their listing policy. They wished me success in the future and expressed sympathy but told me it was out their hands as far their listing policy.”
There has been a lot of skepticism, but I had called Clark Atlanta to verify that Wyatt is a student in good standing. Wyatt has addressed many of the critics directly by coming onto this blog so please read his comments below. He also provided his phone number and e-mail.
Again, the ad is now gone, but here is a condensed version: “I am in the last year of my master’s of business administration program here at Clark Atlanta University. As many of you, I have become a of victim of the recession (a depression to some of us) in our wonderful country and I am in danger of losing everything I have worked for in the brief 23 years of my life. The root of my problem stems from not being able to cover all of the tuition in the final year of my pursuit of higher education. I am short about $10,000 of realizing a life long dream.
I am a first generation college student in my family. My mother did not finish high school but she did the best she could in raising me under the circumstances. I haven’t seen my father since I was 7 years old. Although being raised in poverty, and around drugs and violence; by the grace of God, I overcame my surroundings and graduated in the top 10% of my high school class (2004).
So I am willing to offer you a piece of my future. I am an aspiring hedge fund manager, social activist, and entrepreneur. I am offering to give the person that is willing to help me now, a percentage of everything that is soon to come in my life. This investment in my future right now, could potentially pay off to be millions for you if I have my way.
I can verify everything I have said. I am not trying to scam or lie to anyone. I just want to graduate this year and break the cycle of self-destruction and poverty in my family once and for all.
As far as being a benefactor of my future earnings, we can have the documents customized to your liking by the firm of your choosing (or mine if you would like) to insure you will be entitled to future compensation from any of my future earnings and business ventures. You will also receive a thank you card and a personal note of gratitude as an immediate item.”
Okay, folks, I know you are a tough audience, but don’t you have to give Wyatt credit for ingenuity? Now that eBay has pulled his ad, he will have to come up with a new approach. Several of you have suggested he get a job and go to school at night. That might be his only option now, although that would probably mean a much longer road to his degree.