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How to Create an In-House Tuition Program

Posted on May 8, 2023 by Jamie Davis

Trade schools and bootcamp programs are often more affordable, in comparison to traditional four-year colleges. However, affordability isn’t everything — flexible financing options is an important piece of the puzzle.

In-house tuition programs provide students with a way to pay for their education without accruing massive amounts of debt, leaving them more likely to enroll and succeed as a student.

If you don’t already have an in-house tuition program set up, here’s a few steps to create one.

What is an In-House Tuition Program?

An in-house tuition program allows students to pay their cost of attendance in installments directly to their school, rather than the traditional process of borrowing a loan from a third-party lender. Typically, students have the option to pay on a monthly or per-term basis, over the course of a specific period of time.

Why You Need an In-House Payment Plan Option

In-house tuition programs have a variety of benefits:

Greater Flexibility

For many bootcamp and alternative education programs, federal financial aid isn’t an option. This leaves students depending on scholarships, cash, and a few select private lenders to fund their education.

Providing them with an additional option — an in-house payment plan — gives them greater agency in making decisions about how to fund their education. This allows them to choose the option that is truly best for them, not just whichever option is available.

They also provide you with greater flexibility, as you can create plans yourself, rather than relying on the few options third party lenders have.

Higher Enrollment Rates

Enrollment has taken a nosedive over the past few years, and traditional tactics are falling short. Addressing the root issues behind the dip is crucial for all programs.

In fact, the number one reason students fail to enroll is financial barriers. While you can’t fork over the cash to cover the education, you can provide greater options — like tuition payment plans — that keep your program accessible to more students. The more accessible your program, the higher your enrollment rates are likely to be.

Increased Accessibility

While there are a few private lenders that work with alternative education programs, many students won’t have the credit score or income to qualify for a loan. In-house tuition programs can be created to be more flexible in terms of eligibility, giving students greater access to your program.

Greater Revenue

While the intention isn’t to profit off students, revenue is important to think about. When you partner with a single third party lender, they’ll typically offer a large discount rate. This means that they’ll get to keep a significant portion of the student’s money when they repay the loan. 

With your own in-house tuition program, you get to keep all the revenue from repayment for yourself. There’s no middle-man to take a chunk out of your profit. 

4 Steps to Set Up an In-House College Payment Plan Program

Step 1: Decide How You Want to Structure Your Payment Plan

Before crafting your custom payment plan, envision a few of the details — do you want students to pay monthly, per term, or have the option for either? How long do you envision the payment plans being? Will you offer other flexible financing options?

Step 2: Set Up a Call with Meratas

Building an in-house tuition program from scratch is complex. It’s best to opt for a robust software, like Meratas, to run something as complex as an in-house tuition plan — your beloved Excel Sheet won’t cut it.

So, schedule a call with our team — we’ll get you set up with the software needed to run an in-house tuition plan that works.

Step 3: Let The Software Take Care of the Details

As with all programs, there’s a slew of details to keep track of — how are students getting access to their payment plan options? Where is this information being hosted? Will this integrate into current administrative dashboards? How will it work with our current workflows?

Within the Meratas software, you’ll be able to house all this information in one place. From creation to repayment, the Meratas software makes it incredibly easy to run your in-house tuition program.

Step 4: Deploy Your Program

Once your custom tuition plan is created through the Meratas platform, it’s ready to be launched to your students. We’ll be there to guide you every step of the way — from talking them through the application process, to making their first payment.

Ready to take your students’ tuition into your own hands? Book a time with us here.

Posted under: School Resources, Buy Now Pay Later, Student Loans

How to Pay for Trade School

Posted on by Jamie Davis

The average vocational program will run you over $30,000 — which isn’t a small price to pay. If you’re in the process of determining how to pay for trade school, consider these 6 avenues for footing the bill.


Scholarships are free money, meaning you don’t have to pay them back. Because of this, you’ll want to maximize the number of scholarships you apply to and accept.

First, contact the trade school you plan to attend and ask about any institutional scholarships they may offer. Then, look for scholarships offered in your local area. Both will be far less competitive than most scholarships you find online.

If that doesn’t yield results, search websites such as Scholarships.com and Bold.org. These websites are, in essence, aggregators that compile massive lists of scholarship opportunities. That said, they’ll likely be more competitive in comparison to the aforementioned opportunities, so you’ll need to have a strong application.

When searching, try to narrow your search to specific aspects of your life. For example, try searches like:

The more narrow the eligibility criteria, the smaller the applicant pool is likely to be, and the better your chances are of receiving the scholarship.


Like scholarships, grants are also dealt on a no-strings-attached basis, meaning you don’t have to pay them back either. As you can imagine, you’ll want to maximize how many grants you can rack up, too.

Most grants will come directly from the federal government. To access these, you’ll need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you’re eligible, you’ll receive notice in your financial aid award letter from the program(s) you apply to.

Sometimes, non-government entities also offer grants. These are typically need-based, meaning you’ll have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible to receive one. You can find these grants by simply searching online.

Federal Aid

After submitting the FAFSA, you’ll receive a financial aid award letter from the trade school(s) you apply to. Within this letter, you’ll see whether you qualify for any federal aid, which can come in the form of grants, work study, or federal student loans.

If you receive a federal student loan, it’s wise to accept it, but only after accepting gift aid like scholarships and grants. This is because federal student loans tend to have lower interest rates, more flexible repayment options, and the potential for loan forgiveness — three elements private student loans may lack.

Note that programs need to be accredited to be eligible to receive federal student aid. Make sure to consider this before selecting which program to attend.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

If you’re currently employed, ask your employer about the potential for tuition reimbursement. Believe it or not, a wide range of employers will pay for your studies — some even paying 100% of the bill.

When you inquire about this, make sure to cover all the bases, asking questions like:

Private Student Loans

After exhausting the above options, consider private student loans. Private student loans are offered by private entities such as banks and other financial institutions. They each come with their own unique interest rates, repayment plans, and terms.

To find a private student loan that works for you, submit a free application here.

Parent Loans

If you’re unable to qualify for a private student loan on your own, consider asking a parent or guardian to borrow a parent loan on your behalf. Like traditional private student loans, parent loans are offered by private organizations to parents to fund their child’s education.

Legally, your parent will be the sole individual responsible for repaying the loan, but you can contribute to repayment as you would with a traditional private loan. That said, keep in mind that some private lenders might not offer parent loans for trade schools, so you’ll need to search carefully.

Final Thoughts

When paying for any educational institution, it’s important to remember the following order of events: free aid (scholarships, grants) → earned money (work study, tuition reimbursement) → borrowed money (loans).

By accepting free and earned money first, you’ll be able to minimize the amount you need to borrow, which results in less student loan debt.

Posted under: Tuition Options, Buy Now Pay Later, Income Share Agreements

Trade School vs College in 2023: Which One Is Better

Posted on May 20, 2022 by Jamie Davis

Trade schools offer a quick, cost-effective path to high-paying careers, but they may not qualify for financial aid, have limited program options, and may not offer as much career growth.

On the other hand, college is far more expensive and longer in duration, but it can lead to a higher income potential, more program choices, and broader career applicability.

Trade School vs. College: What’s the Difference?

Colleges provide a longer, more general education, while trade schools offer a shorter, more specialized education. Colleges often have a wider range of career opportunities, while trade schools provide a direct path to a single career.

Trade schools offer hands-on learning, with programs such as plumbing, welding, cosmetology, nursing, and massage therapy. While college programs may have hands-on elements, the majority of learning takes place in the classroom, with programs like business, psychology, biology, and communications.

Difference Between Trade School and College
Trade SchoolCollege
Typical ProgramsPlumbing, welding, construction, culinary arts, cosmetology, massage therapy, electricianBusiness, health professions, social sciences and history, engineering, biological sciences, psychology, communication and journalism
Cost of Program1$33,000$127,000
Degree GrantedVocational Certificate, Diploma in a specialized areaAssociate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree
Average Duration of Program6 months to 2 years, for a full-time student2 to 4 years, for a full-time student
Learning EnvironmentHands-on learning with some classroom instructionClassroom instruction with some hands-on learning for specific programs
Average Class Size25 to 35150 to 300
Average Graduation Rate274.6%64.7%

1 Vocational Training HQ, https://www.vocationaltraininghq.com/average-cost-vocational-school-usa-2017

2 College Evaluator, https://www.collegeevaluator.com/trade-schools/massachusetts

Trade School

Trade school prepares students for a specific role, ranging from car mechanics to hair stylists. Because of this, programs tend to be shorter and more focused, skipping over the general education courses required in college.

Some of the most popular trade school programs include:

Advantages of Trade School

Trade school has several incredible advantages:

Specialized education. Trade school programs get right down to business, teaching only what you need to know to perform the duties of your desired trade.

Shorter duration. Because time isn’t wasted on general education courses, trade schools are able to teach students everything they need to know in a much shorter time frame. Most trade school programs take around six months to two years to complete, depending on the program and whether it’s completed as a full-time or part-time student.

More flexible class times. Some trade programs offer night schools, perfect for working adults who can only take courses in the evening. This makes attending school easier for those already working during the day, as opposed to college courses that take place during the workday.

More hands-on learning. Given that many skilled trades require manual labor, trade school programs tend to have more opportunities for hands-on learning.

Cost-effective. Trade schools are significantly more affordable than most colleges.

Disadvantages of Trade School

That said, there are a few downsides of trade school programs:

Limited career growth. Trade school programs train you for one role. While there might be some overlap between what you study and other fields, it isn’t as flexible as a college degree. For example, a biology degree could help you secure a variety of roles — scientist, teacher, zoologist. However, a commercial driving program would only help you get a role as a truck driver.

Lack of financial aid. Most trade schools are ineligible for federal financial aid. Instead, students will need to cover the education with scholarships, student loans, and personal funds.

Fewer school options. Because trade schools offer specialized education, there tends to be fewer programs to choose from in comparison to college degrees.


College provides students with a general understanding of an industry such as business, psychology, or nursing. In some cases, students can choose a specific area of interest within their major, which allows them to focus their studies on that particular topic.

For example, a student majoring in business might be able to focus on accounting or management. A psychology student might be able to focus on clinical psychology or marriage and family psychology.

Some of the most popular college majors include:

Advantages of College

College has several advantages, such as:

More programs to choose from. Top colleges offer 50 or more majors, and some offer even more. This gives students a wide selection of programs to choose from, which can be helpful if you’re undecided on your career path or decide to change your major mid-way through school.

Income potential. Some studies show that bachelor’s degree holders earn around 75% more during their career than if they had only a high school diploma.

Broad education. If you’re unsure what career you’d like to pursue, college may be for you. A broad degree can provide you with the education you need to pursue a wide variety of roles.

Disadvantages of College

Expensive. The average bachelor’s degree costs $127,000, leaving graduates with around $34,100 in student loan debt.

Longer program. College takes anywhere from two to four years to complete as a full-time student, depending on the degree.

Lack of job readiness. In a Cengage survey, one in five (19%) of respondents said their college education didn’t provide them with the skills needed to perform their first post-degree job. This means that even after completing a four-year program, students didn’t find what they learned to suffice.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Trade School and College
Trade SchoolSpecialized educationShorter durationMore flexible class timesMore hands-on learningCost-effective Limited career growthLack of financial aidFewer school options
CollegeMore programs to choose fromGreater income potentialBroader educationExpensiveLonger programLack of job readiness

Is It Better to Go to College or Do a Trade?

It depends. Here’s a general guideline of who trade school and college are right for:

Trade school is best for you if…

College is best for you if…

Ultimately, however, only you know which option is best for you. Take time to review your career goals, budget, and preferences to decide which program suits you best.

Posted under: Buy Now Pay Later, Income Share Agreements

6 Simple Ways Schools Can Increase College Enrollment

Posted on January 21, 2022 by Jamie Davis

We get it – the stats aren’t the most motivating. College enrollment dropped 4.7% between spring 2021 and 2022, and many experts are suggesting that this decline is here to stay.

As an institution, however, simply making peace with it isn’t enough. Having low numbers year after year isn’t sustainable, and it’s crucial to set up your game plan for keeping enrollment as high as possible.

If you’re curious about how to increase enrollment, here’s 6 simple steps to help you get there.

What’s Inside:

#1: Up Your Marketing Game

We know you’ve heard it before, but hear us out. The marketing world is changing, and it’s important to keep up.

Put yourself in a potential student’s shoes — what type of content would resonate with you? If your strategy feels stale and you aren’t excited to launch the content, your audience will likely feel the same way.

Instead, look to institutions having success online and mirror what they do. Take the University of Georgia and Baylor University for example. By hopping on platforms where their future students exist and creating content that is both entertaining and informative, they’ve been able to grow a presence online while attracting new applicants.

#2: Get Comfortable With Video

It’s official — we’re living in the era of short-form video. With the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, more and more people have grown comfortable with absorbing bits of information through easy-to-digest video content. For schools, this creates an incredible opportunity to leverage video content to attract and retain new students.

It’s what platforms are prioritizing in their algorithms, which means your content is likely to perform better, too. Some studies even report that video content performs 1200% better in comparison to other formats. This comes as no surprise given that Instagram favors Reels in its algorithm, and LinkedIn video content gets nearly 5 times the engagement.

Plus, customers retain 95% of the information they watch in a video, and 37% of them watch videos all the way to the end. By capturing more students’ attention, they’re more likely to remember your content and your institution when it comes time to enroll. 

If you’re finding that static content like newsletters, traditional social media posts, and static ads aren’t generating the results you want, try implementing video content into your strategy.

#3: Make It Easier for Students to Get Financing

Creating a killer TikTok strategy will help in creating a well-rounded strategy to increase enrollment, but it won’t address the root issue — a lack of flexible financing options. Reality is, the cost of an education has grown tremendously, and wages aren’t mirroring this growth.

This leaves 38% of students opting to not enroll, simply due to their fears around the cost of an education. While you can’t hand them a check, you can provide them with flexible financing options that make affording that cost much more simple.

A lender marketplace, like Meratas, requires minimal setup and upkeep but generates long term results. Unlike the traditional loan process — which requires students to hop from site to site in search of a loan — Meratas provides you with the all-in-one solution. Students get access to an entire marketplace built for them, with a variety of loan options to choose from.

When students have the means to afford the education they desire, and when they experience less friction in acquiring a loan, they’re far more likely to convert into a fully enrolled student.

#4: Improve Visibility with SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of getting your institution’s web pages to be recognized and ranked by Google. Once you’ve got a solid SEO strategy down, prospective students will be able to find your website when searching for related questions like “Best certificate program for tech” or “Top trade school near me.” 

If your website isn’t ranking in searches, however, it’ll make it significantly harder for eager students to find your institution when looking online. Nearly 25% percent will click the first link that shows up, leaving your institution’s pages unclicked and unnoticed.

While implementing an SEO strategy can take a bit of legwork upfront, you can reap the benefits of it for years to come. 

#5: Secure More Reviews from Students

Think of enrolling like booking a luxury vacation — you likely wouldn’t book a hotel or an excursion without checking the reviews. Before spending your hard-earned cash, you want to ensure the experience will be enjoyable, worth your money, and legitimate.

Choosing where to enroll for an education is similar. Prospective students wonder what the program is really like, whether other students have enjoyed their experience there, and if the program will be worth shelling out a few thousand dollars for.

To bridge the gap, encourage students — both current students and alumni — to submit honest reviews about their experience with the program. They can do this through Google My Business, sites like Niche, or directly through your website. Then, incorporate their statements in marketing materials, such as social media posts and on your website.

#6: Lower Your Response Times with Automated Messaging

Support throughout the enrollment process is key, and today’s students expect speedy response times to their inquiries. If you’re taking a bit longer to respond, it might leave students feeling unsupported, which doesn’t give them the warm and fuzzy feeling they’d prefer to have when making their enrollment decisions.

Instead, implement automation software that lets prospective students know you’ve received their question, are working on an answer for them, and will get back to them as soon as possible. The more supported they feel, the more likely they are to think fondly of your institution when it comes time to select where they want to enroll.

Posted under: Tuition Options, Buy Now Pay Later

Why You Should Be Using the Buy Now Pay Later Model at Your School or Education Program

Posted on December 28, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Buy now pay later (BNPL)   platforms that allow customers to make purchases in installments are growing in popularity in the United States and being used like never before. 

Younger generations are hopping on the trend to save money instead of using traditional credit cards with steep interest. Platforms like Afterpay, Klarna, and Affirm allow users to make big box purchases like a new computer without having to shell out the entire cost upfront. Instead, they typically let users pay in four installments over a few weeks or months. As a result, the BNPL industry is now worth $97 billion and set to only go up from there.

Some experts say younger generations are steering clear of traditional credit and debit in the wake of the financial crisis. Instead, buy Now Pay Later is becoming the solution in the retail world.

So what about education?

You may be thinking ‘Buy Now, Pay Later works great for retail, but how would it work for education?’ Turns out, it’s already working quite well. This study by AWS shows that not only is Buy Now Pay Later a popular option for Millennials and Gen Z, they are also already using this model to pay for their education.

And it makes sense doesn’t it?”

Your students are already familiar with Buy Now Pay Later for their everyday purchases.

Four easy payments of $19.99 is becoming the default choice when shopping.

With your students already paying for many of their bigger purchases with BNPL, doesn’t it make sense to give them the option to use this model to help them achieve their learning goals?

The Benefits of BNPL?

The number one thing we’ve identified as a barrier to increasing enrollment is too few payment options for students. Unfortunately, students have limited options when it comes to paying for their education. With flexible financing like BNPL, we’re looking to change the way students and schools view funding.

Our programs allow schools to control their future and help them hit enrollment goals, to also increase enrollment for schools and improve retention.

Our partners choose Meratas for a few simple reasons. They have increased enrollment, diversify their income, and scaled their programs. In addition, 87% of students polled said they wouldn’t have considered their program without a flexible financing option.

Our approach to alternative financing options puts schools and students at the center of what we do. We create tuition programs that are fair and flexible for your students and profitable for you.

Now, are you ready to bring Buy Now, Pay Later to your students?

Meratas: The All In One Tuition Solution

At Meratas, we took BNPL and repurposed it with education in mind:

Learn Now, Pay Later! 

BNPL At YOUR Program! We now offer multiple different tuition options that are highly customizable to fit the needs of any school. Quality education does not always have to be financed with traditional student loans that acquire more interest over time. Buy Now Pay Later options are the future of education! 

Your tuition needs are unique to you and your students. If you need the flexibility to build your financing, Meratas can help! Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more about how you can use Learn Now, Pay Later to achieve all your program’s goals! 

Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of the content contained herein. Meratas Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials.

Posted under: School Resources, Buy Now Pay Later

Meratas is not responsible for third party products, services, sites, recommendations, endorsements, reviews, etc. All products, logos, and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Their use does not signify or suggest the endorsement, affiliation, or sponsorship, of or by Meratas.

School matching is provided by Meratas as an independent, advertising-supported service. We may be compensated by the schools we promote in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. 

This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Meratas strives to provide a wide array of offers for our users, but our offers do not represent all learning institutions or course programs.

We endeavor to ensure that the information on this site is current and accurate but you should confirm any information directly with your selected learning institution and read the information they provide.  Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content contained herein, which has been provided to us by our school partners.. We assume no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials

At Meratas, we believe in transparency and partner with reputable companies to enhance your potential for success. Earnings figures are indicative, not guarantees. Earnings figures are taken from ZipRecruiter for the New York, NY region, and can be reviewed here.  Using this link, you may review earnings figures specific to your state of residence.  Success stories are not typical; results may vary. Placement rates are not a promise of employment.

Meratas is not responsible for third party products, services, sites, recommendations, endorsements, reviews, etc. All products, logos, and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Their use does not signify or suggest the endorsement, affiliation, or sponsorship, of or by Meratas.

We endeavor to ensure that the information on this site is current and accurate but you should confirm any information directly with your selected learning institution and read the information they provide.  Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content contained herein, which has been provided to us by our school partners.. We assume no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials.