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Raise.me: A New Way to Earn Scholarships in High School

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Every family and student loves to win scholarships. It’s free money for college. Most scholarship awards require time: researching the award, applying for the scholarship, and waiting for the decision to arrive. But what if you could earn scholarships while you attend high school? Imagine getting $400 for an A in Fine Arts or $600 for participating in a community service event? Raise.me is now offering that option.

What is Raise.me?

Showcased in Technil.ly, Raise.me was founded as Raise Labs in 2012 by three friends, Preston Silverman, George Kirkland, and Dave Schuman, Raise.me started out with an idea: The U.S. offers billions of dollars for scholarships and grants but these are only offered during the end of high school when students have already made up their minds on what college to attend.

For Silverman, who came from a family where he was the first to go to a traditional college, he hopes that his startup will help students have better access to education as they earn the funds to pay for it. “Our end goal is to create more and equal access to education,”he said. “A lot of students and families are intimidated with the tuition prices of colleges and universities, and do not understand how to access scholarship funding.”

How does the program work?

Raise.me has partnered with colleges and other organizations across the country to offer scholarships to high school students who desire to excel prior to applying to college. Colleges offer micro-scholarships to students that can be used when they are accepted and enroll in the participating college. So far, over $250 million in micro-scholarships have been made available by the colleges as part of their commitment to making aid more transparent, predictable and motivational for students. Currently, more than 21,000 high school students from all over the United States are registered and using Raise.me.

Awards are given to students automatically for each of their achievements during high school. This gives students incentives to perform well in school and see immediate gratification for their performance.

How do students participate?

When students register and log in to Raise.me, they see a list of goals and tasks listed by different colleges. Students then enter their achievements (varsity sports, volunteering, AP U.S. history, etc.) —and their earnings are instantly displayed in their portfolio. When students are finally about to head to college, they’ll be able to redeem the micro-scholarships they’ve earned over the last four years.

Students can enter information from previous years of high school if they register as a junior or senior. Any information from 9th grade and up is used to determine the micro-scholarship awards. Once a student registers, and begins entering information they instantly see the results of their hard work:

  • Automatic earnings of grant aid before you even apply to college
  • Bite-sized goals to help you achieve at your highest level
  • Privacy controls that give students complete control over their information
  • Timely reminders to keep you on track
  • Early connections to colleges to get the inside scoop and receive invitations to events

Which colleges are currently participating?

Colleges like Tulane University, DePaul University and the University of Rochester are just a few of the college participants. Over 100 colleges have started the process of joining Raise.me. If you fill in your portfolio when you register, when new colleges are added, they’ll instantly award you scholarship money for the achievements you’ve already entered into your portfolio. Raise.me is also a great place to learn about top colleges that are willing to award you scholarship money but that you may not know about now. If there is a college that you would like to see on Raise.me, you can go to your “Colleges”page and vote to add that college.

What are the micro-scholarship amounts?

A quick glance at the site shows awards from $250 to $1000. For instance, you can earn $600 for getting a B in English, earn $400 for actively volunteering in your community, or $1000 for an A in AP English.

Raise.me challenges students to do microtasks that ultimately build up to a better chance of not only getting into a college but also paying for it.

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Written by Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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