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(WBIR) UT freshman Krista Dickerson is one of 153,000 college students getting some of their tuition paid off from generosity and a few computer clicks.

"I used my pell grant and everything. That just covered Pellissippi, and now (I got) my UT bill," she said.

So thanks to her adoptive mom, the once homeless teen is now relying on crowdfunding to pay, or at least chip off, some of that burdensome college debt. UT average tuition is approximately $10,000 per year in-state and $29,000 for out-of-state students.

"You have a picture of yourself and you put it out there on social media," said Dickerson talking about GoFundMe.com. "First day up, I got a $100 donation from someone I knew closely, and then another $100 anonymously."

Financial planner Paul Fain says he's heard more stories of using crowdfunding for educational purposes.

"There's a lot more non-traditional thinking to pay off for college," Fain said. "The modern technology age of instant communication. You know, a student with need or a compelling story now has several resources on the internet."

While the road for this social work student is still long, Dickerson says she's glad to be here in Knoxville.

"I wouldn't be here without the people helping me," she said.

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