(WSVN) - Getting a college degree can carry a high price tag these days — but now students have a new way to offset the cost of tuition. 7’s Robbin Simmons has more on how you can get some of this college cash.
Alexa Perdomo is a freshman at Florida International University. Good grades and involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association earned her a $6,500 scholarship.
Alexa Perdomo, earned college cash: “It’ll help you pay for your books, your classes or anything that you need for school.”
Sabrina Rosell was involved in high school student government and with the Miami Dade Youth Commission. She earned a $10,000 scholarship.
Sabrina Rosell, earned college cash: “It’s definitely helped me and it’s the reason I’m here at FIU today.”
They earned their money a little at a time through raise.me — a scholarship program that allows students to bank big bucks for high school academic and extra-curricular achievements.
Jody Glassman, FIU admissions director: “From day one, we were sold.”
Jody Glassman is the director of admissions at FIU, the first college in Florida to partner with raise.me.
Jody Glassman: “It’s different from other scholarship programs because students can start earning as early as 9th grade. So they’re removing finances as a barrier to a higher education.”
Nationwide, some 225 colleges are partnering with raise.me — from Penn State to Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon to Northeastern University, and more continue to join.
To sign up, students go on the website, create a portfolio and “follow” colleges they’re interested in attending.
Jennifer Senaris, earned college cash: “You put in all your grades, your GPA, all your campus involvement — community service, anything you’ve done within your high school career.”
Little by little, accomplishments add up.
Luis Prieto, earned college cash: “I thought it was too good to be true.”
Luis Prieto got a $10,000 scholarship thanks to his high school advanced placement classes and his work on the mock trial team.
Luis Prieto: “My mom kept telling me, ‘It’s a gimmick. They’re not going to give you that money.’ Then when I saw it actually go toward my tuition, I was like, ‘Wow.'”
Each college assigns its own micro-scholarships. FIU lets high school students earn money for every “A” they make in a core class.
Jody Glassman: “So English, science, social studies or a second language. You can earn $55 for each ‘A.’ For every hour of community service or working outside the home, you earn $4. For taking an I.B. or A.P. class, you can earn $250 dollars.”
Individual colleges also set a maximum amount awarded on total micro-scholarship earnings– and they vary. It could be $8,000 at one college or $80,000 at another.
Students only get the money they earn through the school if they go to that school, but you can earn money at multiple colleges at the same time. It all translates to a chance for a lower cost college education.
Sabrina Rosell: “Going the extra mile really does count for something. Getting an ‘A’ on that test, getting involved somewhere, it does count for something.”
Once you get a scholarship to your college, you also have to work to keep it by maintaining a 3.0 GPA.
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