Student hopes to use grad cap to cut debt

A University of Michigan-Flint student hopes to use his graduation cap to take a bite out of his education debt.
AP Wire
Jan 21, 2014

Alex Benda of St. Clair said he wants to cash in on the 10-by-10-inch hat by selling ad space in 1-inch squares on top for $300 each. If he sells 100 squares, he'll have wiped out his about $30,000 in student loans, he said.

"I realized that I would have the eyes of every graduating student and their family's on me as I walked across the stage to accept my diploma," he wrote on his website. "You can advertise on it, give a shout out, put a quote, a silly image of your cat, practically anything! All while helping a graduating college student start his life without student debt."

The 22-year-old international business major is scheduled to graduate in a few months. He says it's "scary" to think about trying to find a job while having so much debt.

As of midday Monday, he had raised more than $1,200 online from 12 backers — but no square buyers had yet to make a pledge.

"I have gained so much from my education that I hope to help others with their goal of going to college, but right now I appreciate any help," he said in his posting. "I graduate May 4th so time is running out!

Online: Benda's fundraising page:



why is this any different from panhandling?? Money for nothing, get your _ (college) for free. This is not enterprising at all. Who will be able to read a 1" square? A picture of your cat? haha
That's even more than the Trib charges for ads!


true that bigdeal and who could wrap a fish in a 1" square??

Former Grandhavenite

This is far from the first time I've heard of someone selling space on their grad cap, and I always wonder about it. Any serious advertiser is going to weigh the amount of exposure they get for the amount they're paying- and it's hard to believe they would come out ahead here versus spending $300 to run their ad an extra time on local cable or whatever.

In reality, the product being advertised is the student themselves, demonstrating that they know how to get media attention and pull off a publicity stunt. For someone in a business/marketing field it might generate a couple of job leads. I guess you could do worse, but it seems pretty lame to turn what should be a celebration for your family and friends into yet another marketing-driven shill fest. There'll be plenty of time for that once you enter the business world!

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