Pay-for-As is not unfamiliar to many American students; it’s been a mid-level resort of parents hoping to inspire their kids as long as grades have been a measuring stick. But now there’s a company getting in on the scheme.
Raise.me is a startup, founded by Preston Silverman, that uses small tuition grants from colleges to incentivize good grades in high school students. Under certain conditions, students can earn up to $80,000 towards their own college education via the platform.
So far, 225 institutions have partnered with the website, and over 700,000 students have used it, nearly half of them either low-income or first-generation college-goers.
Students between 9th and 12th grade can use the site for free (its profit comes from the partner institutions). They can apply to earn micro-grants, sometimes referred to as scholarships, from as many schools as will have them, but will only actually receive their funds from whichever college they choose to attend in the end.
For instance, as a freshman, a student could join in the programs of schools A, B, and C, and their grades would earn them potential scholarships from each. But when they graduate high school, apply to A and B, and accept an offer at B, only the funds they earned from B will be applied to their tuition. The other funds will be absorbed back into the general pool for other students.
Each partner institution will have their own rubric for awarding funds. Some will award $1,000 for each A, some only $50. Some will include rewards for leadership positions in clubs, student government, and sports. Some have maximums on earnings via Raise.me, others do not.
With this site, a great deal of power is put into the hands of the student to make their schoolwork work for them. It’s still up to them to get into these schools, or they risk losing any of these scholarships, but having them available tilts the odds in their favor.