The University of South Carolina will offer a new scholarship program designed to reward high school students for a wide variety of academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
Students at 56 selected high schools in South Carolina, starting as early as 9th grade, can earn “micro-scholarships” to Carolina through an online program called Raise.me. For example, getting an A in a core course, earning a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher, taking an advanced course or participating in clubs and student organizations will be rewarded through this program. Students can earn a maximum of $2,000, to be spread over four years.
In addition to improving clarity and access around financial aid, the new program allows students to track specific goals they want to accomplish throughout high school, helping them become more competitive college applicants and more successful college students. Earning micro-scholarships throughout high school provides encouragement and motivation for students to excel in high school, and also demonstrates Carolina’s interest in attracting students from schools from which relatively few students have attended in the past.
Raise.me is focused on expanding access to higher education, especially among low-income and first-generation students. Raise.me was developed in response to the fact that most scholarships and grants today are awarded by colleges at the very end of high school — after a student has already done well or not, applied to a college or not, and been accepted or not — which is often too late to impact a student’s college ambitions or choices.
“The University of South Carolina has found an ideal partnership with Raise.me, as it seeks to motivate and encourage low-income and first-generation students to dream big and prepare earnestly for college,” said Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions. “We hope micro-scholarships that students earn will motivate them to even greater achievement, help them to immediately see the value of their accomplishments, and of course, to consider attending USC for college.”
Raise.me has partnered with a diverse set of nearly 200 schools, including Carnegie Mellon, Colby, Georgia Tech, Penn State, the University of Rochester, and Tulane. Raise.me is free for students and also provides a free portal for high school counselors to help students track their progress.