College students are usually broke, even after they make a conscious effort to save money, work a steady job and pick up that rusty penny in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Ways of earning extra cash are becoming more inventive.
Donating plasma is becoming a popular way of making an easy $30 to 50. The more desperate college students get, the more appealing this alternative for a quick chunk of change becomes.
Junior Jolene Rimes started donating plasma when her bank shut off her cards.
“They thought there was suspicious activity going on so they shut them off, and because my banks are back home, I had no way of getting money,” Rimes said. “So I donated plasma, and I have been doing it for a few weeks now.”
Rimes heard about plasma donating her freshman year and had an open mind about donating.
“I thought it was great; I could get money,” Rimes said. “Honestly, if it wasn’t for the money, I probably wouldn’t have donated.”
Senior Jordan Mendenhall is also a frequent plasma donator. He is in the process of saving cash for an engagement ring.
“I was looking online for ways college kids make money, and I found out about donating plasma,” Mendenhall said. “Several guys I know had mentioned it before, so I asked them about it as well.”
Mendenhall donates at the CSL Plasma Center in Tulsa off Cheyenne Ave., but his first impression of another plasma clinic in town was skeptical.
“Luckily the place was closed, because it looked pretty darn sketchy. I found a place I’m comfortable with since then,” Mendenhall said.
According to the official CSL Plasma website, “Donating plasma only removes the liquid portion of your blood and returns your red blood cells to your body.”
Similar to donating blood, plasma donation includes the same process in retrieving the needed substance. However, in plasma donations, the plasma is separated from the red blood cells, which are returned to the donor through the same needle, according to the website.
Rimes chooses to donate at the center off East Admiral Place.
“The atmosphere is hard to explain; it changes on the time you are there,” Rimes said. “The first time I went, I was honestly scared. There wasn’t a normal looking person in the entire place. When I went in to get my physical, the nurse closed the door behind me and asked, ‘Why are you here?’ I gave her a puzzling look and she said, ‘I mean you look normal.’ The second time I went, there were less people, and they were a little sketchy looking.”
Despite the quick cash, donating plasma may not be worth the experience to some.
“Donating plasma is good, but it is extensive,” Rimes said. “If you are not hydrated enough or haven’t eaten a good meal before you go, you will pass out or come extremely close.”
Plasma donating is becoming increasingly popular among college students looking to make cash without an appointment. And according to the American Red Cross, if done correctly, giving plasma poses no threat to donors.
Experts say individuals should limit donations to 13 times per year.
The real question becomes, does donating plasma work for you?
“In my eyes, I have a worthy goal and reason for donating,” Mendenhall said. “But otherwise, sometimes I would wonder if it is worth the $20 or $30 I make.”