Micro-Scholarships Can Lead to Mighty Dollars

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Nearly everyone knows about academic scholarships to college, as well as athletic and institution-specific scholarships. However, you may not about micro-scholarships, which are small scholarships based on student achievements during high school that colleges may offer you.

Micro-scholarships are offered through platforms such as RaiseMe, which partners with colleges to offer high school students scholarships based on specific achievements. Students can begin trying to get micro-scholarships during their entire high school career, starting as early as the ninth grade.

Some such student achievements that can lead to micro-scholarships from select colleges include accomplishments like earning an "A" in a specific course or having a leadership role in an extracurricular school activity. Small accomplishments can add up—students can earn up to $80,000 through RaiseMe. The majority of students do not earn that much, but every dollar counts toward the cost of college.

Nearly 300 colleges and universities participate in RaiseMe, including institutions like Rochester Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Northeastern University and Syracuse University, among many others.

Follow the Schools to Earn

To start earning micro-scholarships, students must first submit a portfolio through the RaiseMe platform. Then they search for and start to "follow" specific institutions to see what would make them eligible for specific micro-scholarships.

A few other facts students should know are these:

  • There is no exchange of cash to students — the micro-scholarships are provided to students as part of the financial aid package as a discount on tuition from a participating institution where they decide to enroll.
  • Micro-scholarships can't be transferred between colleges because they are awarded by the specific institution where a student enrolls.
  • Students considering a gap year will not be eligible for micro-scholarships — they must still be high school students going directly to college to be eligible.
  • Students who attend community college and want to transfer to a four-year institution can still benefit from RaiseMe — an initiative was launched in 2018 to enable transfer students to use two years of the micro-scholarships at the four-year institution they transfer to after community college.

While micro-scholarships may not seem as big of a deal as a full or partial scholarship, dollars can add up and it can definitely help you pay for college. You may want to consider applying to at least one college that participates in offering micro-scholarships to have the option of finding out how much you can earn and compare it to other financial aid offers from other colleges you apply to. Any scholarship — no matter how small — counts!