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Bible student uses Web to raise college funds


(RNS) — For struggling Moody Bible Institute sophomore Bill Van Kirk, starting his fundraising Web site was an act of faith – a last-ditch effort to find cash as he faced mounting college bills.

And it seems that his prayers have been answered, to the tune of $820.

Van Kirk, 21, set up his site,, in mid-July after calculating that his jobs during the summer and school year wouldn’t cover the $20,000 needed for room and board for the remainder of college. The site asks donors to contribute $1 – or more.

The Moody Bible Institute, an evangelical school in Chicago, is tuition-free, but the estimate for room, board, and books is $4,800 per semester, said Marthe Campa, an application coordinator for Moody’s undergraduate admissions department.

The school does not accept federal financial aid, but students can apply for privately funded scholarships.

Van Kirk, who is studying to become a youth pastor, has corrected people who complimented him on his entrepreneurial site, crediting God instead with its success.

“I believe that God is sovereign over everything, so he owns everything,” he said. “So the good gifts that we get are from God.”

Van Kirk hopes that donations through the site will eventually generate the $20,000 necessary to stay in school.