Need cash? Sell your body to science!

Comedian Steven Wright once said that he planned to leave his body to science fiction. Today though, many Americans are opting not to wait until they're dead; and they aren't leaving it for free either. Rising unemployment has more Americans looking for odd jobs to scrape together a living, and university experiments and plasma donations are one way to do that.

The Detroit Newsreports on one Kalamazoo College student who sold her hair for $1,000. Across the country, students are offering up parts of their body to help defray the soaring cost of college. For older people, $50 per week for plasma donations can help put food on the table or save up for a down payment on a car.

While the big bucks come from giving up parts of your body, it's also possible to earn a nice little side income from participating in non-invasive projects. Harvard University's psychology department pays $10 per hour for participation in its experiments. Of course there's the off-chance that you could end up scarred for life by a modern-day Stanford Prison Experiment but hey: $10 is $10, and there's always the chance of hitting the class-action jackpot if something goes wrong.

If you're looking for a quick buck by participating in research, here are some links to help get you started: If you live near a local research university (community colleges and liberal arts colleges may have limited opportunities too) check the web sites of various departments -- psychology, linguistics, kinesiology, etc. -- to find listings of experiments and find out how much you'll get paid.

Finally, a call to action for a future story: If you've paid for college or some other major expense by selling body parts or participating in research, WalletPop wants to hear from YOU. Please contact me at
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