The RaiseMe Story: Where We Came From
Four years ago, we set out on an ambitious path to create a more transparent and empowering way for students to achieve their college and career goals. Here at RaiseMe, our mission has always been clear: to help students of all backgrounds build a path to and through college, and to do so in a way that made the process of earning financial aid for college easier and more transparent for families everywhere.
Starting out, we knew that something had to change about how and when students were both accessing financial aid opportunities and discovering colleges that may be a fit for them. Between the extensive research of existing methods and countless conversations with students, educators, and higher education enrollment leaders, we found that billions in scholarships dollars was being left on the table each year, causing hundreds of thousands of students to be left behind.
We pioneered the idea of micro-scholarships to address that gap. With micro-scholarships on RaiseMe, high school students gained the ability to discover new colleges based on their unique characteristics and values, connect earlier and more authentically with colleges, and earn college scholarships based on incremental grades, activities, and other achievements — all as early as 9th grade. They’ve shared their own stories of encouragement, motivation, empowerment, and success:
“The micro-scholarships available from RaiseMe made me feel more confident about applying and actually making the decision to attend.”
- Suhaib, New York Institute of Technology
“RaiseMe helped get me into a financial comfort zone to where I could focus on my studies and not worry constantly about how I’d be paying for school.”
- Sean, Florida International University
“RaiseMe made me realize that going to college is realistic because scholarship dollars are definitely out there for the taking. It also helped me understand the sort of monetary value of all my accomplishments and activities.”
- Andrea, Harvard University
“RaiseMe made me very mindful of the things i’ve accomplished. Using RaiseMe was a definite confidence booster because I was actually able to see what my worth was to colleges, even before applying to them and hearing back from them.”
- Victoria, Benedictine College
Now having served students in 2 of 3 schools across the country with an estimated $2.5 billion dollars in scholarship cumulatively awarded through RaiseMe, we’re extremely proud of the impact that we’ve made so far on college access in this country. But more importantly, we’re proud of the lessons we’ve learned along the way, including what else needs to be done in order to make it easier for students to successfully graduate from the four-year college of their choice. And we’re nowhere close to being done – we feel we’re just scratching the surface.
New Funding + Transfer Student Platform
Today, we are excited to announce that RaiseMe has raised an additional $15 million in our Series B round to continue in our pursuit to make college an affordable reality for all students. As part of that promise, we are also launching a new platform this fall: RaiseMe for Community College Transfers.
Community colleges have long been critical stepping-stone institutions for many students across America. But community college students, many of whom fall under low socioeconomic status, are at a higher risk of dropping out or stopping out while in school. According to research from The College Board, though 80% of community college students intend to transfer to a four-year college, yet only 25% successfully transfer of the population successfully does, and just 17% eventually graduate within six years. With RaiseMe for Transfers, students at community colleges nationwide will now have the opportunity to concurrently earn micro-scholarships towards their four-year college of their choice while pursuing their Associate’s degrees — just like millions of high school students have already done before them.
As we expand to serve this new group of students, we’re extremely fortunate to have the support of mission-driven investors that are heavily focused on social impact and on creating educational opportunity. Joining our existing group of investors in support of our continued vision are Teamworthy Ventures, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Salesforce Ventures’ (as part of the Salesforce Impact Fund), and Strada Education Group.
With over a million high school and community college students connecting with nearly 300 colleges and university partners on our platform today, the micro-scholarship movement is underway — yet, this is just the beginning.
As we focus on bringing this new chapter of RaiseMe’s story to life, we look forward to continuing to help students achieve their college ambitions by transforming their experience of discovering, preparing for, earning financial aid for, and applying to college in meaningful ways. And as we seek unique ways to help create new opportunities and achieve more student success in higher education, we couldn’t be more excited about the future ahead us, forged by our students today.
CEO and Co-Founder, RaiseMe