KANSAS CITY, Mo. - High school graduation is a time when possibilities seem to be limitless.
But those possibilities can quickly turn into an ugly reality when it comes to finding a way to pay for college.
No one knows this better than high school junior Kaetlyn Heckeroth.
“I have three sisters after me and so if I take all of the college money they can’t go anywhere,” she told 41 Action News.
That’s why Heckeroth has been using Raise.me, a start-up designed to help students earn micro-scholarships for their everyday achievements.
“I’ve earned over $10,000," she said with a smile. "I wasn’t expecting it to be that much of an intake in such short amount of time.”
Raise.me launched in the fall of 2014. According to the company, it’s focused on boosting access to higher education especially for low-income and first-generation students.
How it works:
Create free profile on Raise.me
‘Subscribe' to colleges interested in
Enter achievements (for example: grades, extracurricular activities, GPA)
Universities will decide how much an accomplishment is worth and ‘drop’ amount into account
There are more than 200 institutions affiliated with the program, including the University of Kansas, University of Chicago, Tulane and Newman University in Wichita.
"I think the point here is encouraging young people beginning in the freshman year, you too have the opportunity to help yourself now make funding available for you when you get to that senior year. So the building up over four years,” said Norm Jones, the vice president of enrollment at Newman University.
Different colleges offer different amounts for the same achievement.
For example, at Newman University, earning an ‘A’ in a core class could earn a student $350. Passing an advanced placement course could earn a student $800.
"We are seeing a tremendous uptick in visibility,” said Jones. "This is an opportunity for us to get Newman in front of these young people to say here’s a way you can begin to start thinking about your educational future.”
Kansas and Missouri schools participating with Raise.me
University of Kansas
Washington University in St. Louis
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Truman State University
Students can start building their academic profiles and earning scholarship money as early as 9th-grade. High schoolers can also go back and retrospectively add their accomplishments.
No money is awarded until a student gets into the school and commits to it.