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Raise.me - one parent's report on how it works and whether it's worth it

DiotimaDMDiotimaDM Registered User Posts: 1,471 Senior Member
edited September 2015 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
Raise.me is a website where students are awarded microscholarships for incremental achievements such as getting a good grade in a class or participating in an EC or sport. I thought I'd kick the tires and tell you what I found.

I filled out two years worth of info for my S to get an idea of how the site works and what kind of money we'd be looking at.

How it works: Colleges set certain amounts for things like getting an A (or a B) in a class, taking an AP class, getting a certain score on a standardized test, doing ECs or volunteer hours, etc. You fill out a profile listing what classes you've taken, your SAT score, your ECs, etc. Then you click-to-follow the colleges you're interested in. When you do, you're shown a tally for each school based on the data you entered.

The amounts are not the same at each school. One school might offer $400 for every A and $300 for every B, while another gives $200 for As and nothing for Bs.

I used S's real data for his freshman year, then best guess data for his sophomore year. At the mo, he's got a 3.9uw/4.5 weighted GPA, some APs and dual-enrollment classes, around 80 volunteer hours and a couple of ECs, including one leadership position.

I didn't select every school, just the ones that had some potential interest for us. All numbers are 4-year totals, so mentally divide by 4 for an annual amount.

Here are the results:

Denison - $32,730 ($8,183/yr, frex)
Lawrence - $27,140
Southwestern - $25,690
Tulane - $12,050
Michigan State - $12,040
Oberlin - $8,090
Texas Tech - $2,840

My guess is that these numbers would roughly double once you input 4 years of HS data, though I'd also guess that some of the schools will have a cap for the maximum they'll award.

You can rank the participating colleges by how much they'll offer, so I clicked the #1 and #2 schools just to see what the numbers were.

Wingate U - $60,750
Stetson U - $43,455

Here's my take: for a high-need family, I'm not sure you'd end up with anything from Raise.me that you wouldn't have gotten through a regular, need-based application. In our case, none of these amounts were better than our results from the schools' various net price calculators. For a middle income/doughnut hole family, though, or a full freight family at a school where merit aid is unlikely, and where knocking 10k/yr or more off tuition would really come in handy? Seems like it might be a good deal.

I'll continue to enter S's info, but I won't be counting on this to save our bacon where aid is concerned.

If you read the fine print, Raise.me says participating schools have guaranteed that if you select them by the deadline listed on the site, are accepted and enroll, that the school will award you financial aid that at least equals the amount shown in your profile for that school. There is no guarantee that the award will stack with anything else you may have, though. The schools also reserve the right to verify whatever accomplishments you claimed to earn each microscholarship.

The site's url is raise.me.

Replies to: Raise.me - one parent's report on how it works and whether it's worth it

  • UnicornDuchessUnicornDuchess Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    Thank you for the report!
  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 Registered User Posts: 4,056 Senior Member
    Kind of cool. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    Thanks for the report, I have been wondering how much students would benefit. I was thinking of it as a motivator for a kid, but I don't know how that would work if it is just a parent doing all the participating.
  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia Registered User Posts: 3,339 Senior Member
    edited September 2015
    Thanks for trying this out! I have some predictable privacy concerns - I am including a (broken) link to their privacy policy here - remove the spaces as necessary: https:// www.raise.me/ privacy_policy

    OP, I hope the site doesn't solicit financial info. Could you verify?
  • CGHTeachCGHTeach Registered User Posts: 328 Member
    Thanks for the report! This is definitely intriguing, although I have lots of questions to work out. Could earning high dollars here negatively affect admission? How would earnings here affect any grant aid the university might have given? How or would the dollars earned here have to be reported in advance? Would this affect the Profile or Fafsa? I guess I'm worried that there is going to be a "catch" for middle income families ... The overall available pot of money that schools hand out likely isn't increasing, so where is the money coming from? I hope other posters can add even more info to this thread over time.
  • DiotimaDMDiotimaDM Registered User Posts: 1,471 Senior Member
    From what I gather, the funds come from the colleges as part of your financial aid award; you do not get a check from Raise.me. Re: fafsa/profile - I'd think it would be the same as other gift aid from the school. Good questions though, and I have not asked directly.

    Re: info requested - nothing financial. I gave the kid's DOB, but not his full name or address. They did not ask for SSN. I rec'd an email from Oberlin a couple of days after following them, so they do share some contact info with the schools.
  • BobWallaceBobWallace Registered User Posts: 2,222 Senior Member
    How would earnings here affect any grant aid the university might have given?

    They say the micro-scholarships are "guaranteed to be included" in the financial aid package offered by school. From that it seems like they will either have no effect or add to the package.
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Registered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    Do they exclude internationals?
  • momtoddmomtodd Registered User Posts: 15 Junior Member
    My recent experience with Raise.me leaves me skeptical. My DD is class of 2020 and one of her potential schools was part of Raise.me. The Raise.me site calculated about $40,000 (over 4 years) for the one school. Just last week, we received her merit award information from that one participating school. It indicated an annual award of $21,000 "including her Raise.me award". On the one had, I'm trilled with the award and she is really considering this school. On the other, it is approximately the same merit award she received from other similar schools. This participating school is a small LAC. She received on average, a bit more $22,500-$25,000/year from competing schools for merit, without the Raise. me.

    We are a family that will not receive need based aid, though writing a check for the full amount of a private LAC is not easy. Thus, the merit award will be a factor on our decision where she will attend.
  • goldenoldygoldenoldy Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I have also researched Raise me and it seems to be the way to go if your child performs average or poorly on the standardized tests, but well in high school work and extra curricular activities. My son was thrown out of many merit aid scholarships because of average test scores, so for us, this was huge! We don't qualify for any need based aid but are practical about what we will spend on an education.
  • Intellectual6969Intellectual6969 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I'm confused why your son isn't doing his own work. SMH @ parents doing their kids' work for them!
  • typiCAmomtypiCAmom Registered User Posts: 539 Member
    Is there any way to see the list of partner colleges before signing up? Thanks!
  • ILMom13579ILMom13579 Registered User Posts: 342 Member
    @typiCAmom - they have a FB page - it's under RaiseLabs if you do a search you should be able to find it. To date, that is the only place I've been able to locate what colleges they partner with. Unfortunately it is not in a list, they just announce them in their feed when they make the partnership. So if you scroll through the feed you should get a reasonable idea of who they partner with - it's over 100 and counting so far. Good luck!
  • typiCAmomtypiCAmom Registered User Posts: 539 Member
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