Today we are thrilled to announce our investment in Raise.me, a mission-driven company founded to help high school students gain earlier access to college scholarship money by rewarding their achievements as early as ninth grade. Raise.me helps students prepare for college both financially and academically by incentivizing their academic and extracurricular performance, helping them meaningfully engage with prospective colleges earlier, and ultimately become more successful in college and beyond.
The student debt epidemic has been well documented, with the typical graduating student leaving college with an average of $37,000 of debt. One reason for this predicament is the ironic fact that when they apply to college, prospective students and their parents don’t have access to one of the most important decision criteria – what it will cost.
Raise.me is changing that through its micro-scholarships platform. As a marketplace for students and colleges, Raise.me uses technology to create a more transparent and empowering system that’s a win for all parties. Students and parents get transparency into financial aid prior to application, high school educators have a new tool to help shape students for success, and colleges get to build relationships with students earlier and better match financial aid to the right students.
The company is well on its way to achieving its vision, having partnered with more than more than 225 colleges and universities such as NYU, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State and ASU. There are over 650,000 students from all 50 states already benefiting from the platform. Cumulatively students have earned an estimated $1 billion to date through the Raise.me platform. This year, students will access on average $20,000 in financial aid to a college through the Raise.me platform, which they earn as if they apply and are accepted. Longer term, Raise.me has the opportunity to reshape how colleges and prospective students connect with one another. Colleges spend $9 billion per year on recruiting and enrollment marketing and award nearly $50 billion per year in scholarships.
Raise.me is led by three compelling founders, Preston Silverman, George Kirkland, and Dave Schuman, who are focused on making a significant social impact while building Raise.me into a substantial company. We are excited to partner with Preston, George, Dave and the rest of the Raise.me team to ultimately transform how the future generation prepares, chooses and pays for the best possible college education. Can’t think of a more worthy goal than that.