Founder Preston Silverman taught impoverished high school students in India and was dismayed when many of his students said they would never be able to afford college. Back in the U.S., Silverman found "surprisingly similar" conditions. Raise is a platform where students as young as 9th grade can begin earning "microscholarships"--that will add up over time--for college.
How Does It Work? Silverman has found funding for scholarships from a number of organizations including foundations, universities themselves and businesses. Raise has a dashboard for students where they can see "challenges" that will be associated with rewards. When students meet challenges, they earn microscholarships; the dashboard keeps a running tally how much each student earns.
Who’s Using It? As of 2016, Raise has developed partnerships with more than 150 US colleges and universities. The company says that more than 250,000 students in 17,000 high schools have used the platform. On average, they have raised $5,000 via Raise.
Business Model: Raise Labs is free for students. It charges universities to participate, with annual fees that can range from $4,000 to $20,000 depending on the school's size and involvement in the program.
Competition: Although not a formal competitor, one similar program is Wishbone, which lets students identify afterschool or summer programs that they'd like to attend and then invites people to sponsor them to do such programs.
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