For love and money

There's nothing like a financial incentive to motivate even the most uninspired student

We all know it's no fun being broke. But working that part-time job (or jobs) to keep some cash in your pocket during your TAFE studies can take a lot of time and energy away from actually studying. Bit of a catch-22 situation, really. But what's the alternative?

Introducing StudyBooster. This is a free web-based study tool that allows students to get financial sponsorship from family and friends for achieving their academic goals. It doesn't matter what your goals are – they might be as ambitious as topping your class or as modest as successfully passing your exams. And they can be short-term or long-term goals. You choose.

So how does it all work? Once you've signed up and created an active profile you can formally set your goals in writing and then share them with family members, friends and anyone else you think might like to support you through your studies. This can be done via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Then, when you achieve those goals, StudyBooster will send out an email to all your sponsors telling them the good news and inviting them (very politely, of course) to cough up the promised donations. Your sponsors then approve the payments (hopefully) and then you can watch all the moola start to flow in to your bank account via PayPal.

It also works in reverse – that is, friends and family can suggest to you what your goal might be (e.g not missing a single class all semester). Either way, it creates a great motivator for you to achieve your goals. And there's nothing like a financial incentive to motivate even the most uninspired student.

There's also an altruistic component. Two per cent of all StudyBooster funds go straight towards helping less privileged students.

Of course, if you don't achieve your set goals, your sponsors will have the option to ask for a refund of their StudyBooster donation. (*Awkward*)

To be fair, StudyBooster won't be everyone's cup of tea. Even though there's now a solid body of existing research that suggests providing financial incentives for students does lead to increased motivation and performance, the very idea is still sometimes hotly debated.

But if it works for you, you might be able to finally kiss that exhausting part-time job goodbye.