As college students battle the job search in this challenging economy, many are finding unconventional ways to generate income.
When student loan costs accrue and deferment is no longer an option, some college students are getting cash by serving as medical lab rats to pay off school debt.
John McKinley-Campbell had aspirations of obtaining his PhD. at Florida International University shortly after finishing college. But, with no post-graduation job and over $130,000 in student debt, Campbell decided that becoming a lab rat was one way he could reach that goal financially.
He chose to participate in several pharmaceutical studies which included living in a medical facility for 14 days to test out arthritis medication. He even agreed to receive injections of a breast cancer drug through an IV for eight days.
Those two studies combined earned Campbell $8,500 which will help pay for his $1,800 GRE preparation course, a $175 test fee, and his $100 application fee. He saved the remainder of the money for tuition and housing once he is accepted into a PhD. program.
“If I can’t find work [while in school], there’s always a headache medicine I could test,” Campbell said.
Norah, a 24-year-old grad student decided that she would earn her income by donating her eggs to the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland.
She earned $6,500 for her first donation which nearly covered her expenses for the entire school year. If she continues, she will be able to pay the full cost of her program by making about $15,000.
“When I worked a second job [between college and graduate school], it took me almost a year working in retail to make this same amount I’ve already made from one egg donation,” she said.
Another college student spent the past year making nearly $2,600 in sperm donations to the California Cryobank. The funds helped him pay for housing, tuition, and other college expenses.
While some students are choosing the medical route others are using their looks to bolster their pockets.