Tech startup hopes to expand access by showing students scholarship opportunities sooner

San Francisco-based startup RaiseMe is aggregating scholarship opportunities from colleges and showing students how their high school achievements can translate to scholarship dollars, EdSurge reports. Noting that scholarship information often comes too late to sway high school students’ college ambitions, RaiseMe hopes its calculator will make college seem more attainable.

How much for an “A”?

More than 285 colleges and universities have paid to join the online platform to engage earlier with students. On RaiseMe, students can see a list of colleges, their scholarship milestones, criteria, and potential savings associated with certain actions. Those achievements can range from logging perfect attendance to participating in extracurricular activities, earning high GPAs, passing AP exams, and completing community service hours.

Students applying for scholarships create a free online profile and use the honor system to self-report accomplishments. Participating colleges then verify that applicants have satisfied requirements and determine an award amount.

Could early visibility counteract daunting sticker prices?

Proponents of RaiseMe’s model say it helps college hopefuls think tangibly about scholarship potential early and consistently in high school. Greater transparency may be especially helpful for students from low-income backgrounds “who may be scared of the sticker price of college,” says Preston Silverman, RaiseMe’s co-founder and CEO.

But critics say the service is biased toward more technologically savvy students, generates calculations that don’t always match colleges’ award determinations, displays offerings from a limited number of schools, and insufficiently supports timelines required by early decision admissions applicants, according to EdSurge.

Nonetheless, RaiseMe says more than 1.2 million students across two-thirds of U.S. high schools have used its platform, amassing $2.5 billion in potential scholarship savings since 2014.

Sources
EdSurge, RaiseMe
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