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Worth the Leap? “Are Trade Schools Worth It?”

Posted on February 20, 2024 by Jamie Davis

Graduation cap tossed, future shimmering, a question echoes in your mind: “Are trade schools worth it?” Fear not, young adventurer, for this isn’t a binary choice, but a thrilling expedition into the world of skilled trades! Let’s navigate this maze together, uncovering the treasures that await and clearing any doubts that linger.

The answer, like a perfectly crafted weld, depends on your unique goals and aspirations. Traditional college might not spark your fire, but trade schools offer a different path, paved with hands-on learning and in-demand skills. Think of it as choosing the right tool for the job – the one that empowers you to build your dream career, brick by skilled brick.

So, what makes trade schools shine? Buckle up, we’re diving into the benefits:

However, let’s be honest, trade schools aren’t a magic wand. Research thoroughly, prioritize accredited programs with experienced instructors and strong industry connections. Remember, quality matters, and the right school can set you on a path to success.

Moreover, trade schools might not be the perfect fit for everyone. Consider your learning style, career aspirations, and long-term goals. Do you thrive in hands-on environments? Do your dream jobs require advanced degrees? Weigh your options carefully, and choose the path that ignites your soul.

Ultimately, “are trade schools worth it?” is a question only you can answer. Explore the possibilities, weigh the benefits against your unique goals, and embrace the journey of discovery. Remember, the right path, whether academic or vocational, leads to a fulfilling and rewarding future. So, future maker, step into the world of trade schools, explore your passions, and build your dreams. The skills you forge, brick by brick, will pave the way for a successful and enriching career. Go forth, explore, and build your future, and remember, the answer lies within your own ambition and determination!

Don’t Wait for a New Career! Take Action Today!

Are you Career training ready? Take our Career Training Readiness Quiz!

Identify goals, personal strengths, and important facts about your potential career path so you can make an informed decision about your future. It takes just a few minutes! 

Which school is right for you? Find out! Take our School Matching Quiz!

Take a short quiz and get personalized recommendations to career training courses based on your interests, experience, and goals!

Posted under: Webinars, News and Updates, Career Guides, School Resources, Student Success, Tuition Options, Student Loans, MeratasMemo

CFPB Report on School Payment Plans: Navigating Higher Inflation and Tightening Lending Standards with Payment Plans

Posted on September 22, 2023 by Darius Goldman

In today’s economic landscape, characterized by rising inflation and increasingly stringent lending standards, educational institutions are facing unique challenges in securing adequate funding. Traditional avenues for student financing, such as private educational and personal loans, are becoming less accessible as lenders tighten their belts in response to economic uncertainties.

As a result, an increasing number of schools are turning to tuition payment plans as a viable alternative to bridge funding shortfalls. These plans offer a more flexible approach to tuition payments, allowing students to pay in installments with or without an interest component. While this shift offers immediate relief and opens up new avenues for both schools and students, it also brings its own set of complexities and responsibilities.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a comprehensive report that delves into the intricacies of tuition payment plans. The report outlines key findings and recommendations that are crucial for educational institutions to consider as they navigate this changing financial landscape.
By understanding the CFPB’s guidelines and adapting accordingly, schools can offer tuition payment plans that are not only compliant but also transparent and fair for students. This is especially critical in a time when financial flexibility is not just a convenience, but a necessity for many.

Executive Summary:

The CFPB collected and analyzed Payment Plan data from 450 colleges from Dec 2022 to Apr 2023. The results, published by the CFPB on September 2023, are summarized in this memo.

The report discusses tuition payment plans at US colleges, which allow installment payments but can resemble loans, leading to CFPB’s concern of consumer confusion due to differing terms. Automatic enrollment can result in surprise fees, including high late payment charges and potential conversion to interest-bearing loans.

Colleges may employ aggressive debt collection tactics like withholding transcripts and impacting enrollment status. Some contracts attempt to waive consumer rights. The report emphasizes the necessity of transparency and consumer protection for these plans.

Report Findings:

1) Nearly all colleges (98%) offer tuition payment plans, and an estimated 3.9 million students may use these plans each term, according to CFPB research.

2) The CFPB found that disclosure of terms and conditions for tuition payment plans is inconsistent and varies widely. This is in contrast to traditional private education loans, which have standardized federal disclosure requirements. The inconsistency may be due to the diverse range of product structures and terms within tuition payment plans.

3) The CFPB noted that some tuition payment plans may allow for automatic enrollments or forced use. Students might be enrolled without their explicit consent or due to institutional practices that make it difficult to meet tuition deadlines without such a plan. These situations could result in additional fees and financial difficulties for students.

4) The CFPB found that the average late payment fee in tuition payment plans is $30, but some colleges charge over $100 per missed payment. Additionally, some colleges may charge both late and returned payment fees for the same transaction. In certain cases, colleges may convert no-interest payment plans into interest-bearing loans if payments are missed, leading to high costs for late payments.

5) The CFPB observed that at least one-third of colleges may withhold transcripts as a debt collection practice for unpaid balances. Students may also face other severe consequences like removal from classes, meal plans, and campus housing for missed payments. These repercussions can be more severe than those associated with other financial products like federal or private student loans, or credit cards.

6) The CFPB found that some tuition payment plan contracts and related agreements include terms that may waive consumer legal protections or limit how consumers can enforce their rights. Important terms may only be disclosed once, at the initial point of enrollment, and may not be re-disclosed when students enroll in the payment plan.

Best Practices:

1) Clear and Transparent Communication: Provide clear and transparent information about the terms and conditions of the payment plan, including the total cost, payment schedule, fees, and any consequences for late or missed payments.

2) Flexible Payment Options: Offer flexible payment options to accommodate different financial situations, such as monthly or bi-monthly payments, automatic deductions, or online payment portals.

3) Reasonable Fees: Keep fees associated with the payment plan reasonable and clearly disclosed to students. Avoid excessive and duplicative fees that may burden students further.

4) Timely Enrollment: Encourage students to enroll in the payment plan as early as possible to ensure they have enough time to budget and make payments on time.

5) Financial Education and Counseling: Provide resources and support for financial education and counseling to help students make informed decisions about their payment plan and manage their finances effectively.

6) Collaboration with Third-Party Service Providers: If using third-party service providers to administer the payment plan, ensure they adhere to best practices and prioritize student interests.

7) Regular Evaluation and Improvement: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the payment plan and make improvements based on student feedback and changing financial needs.


Tuition payment plans serve as a valuable financial tool for students, especially in an era of rising inflation and tightening lending standards. However, these plans are not without their complexities and risks. From the potential for debt accumulation to the severe consequences of late payments, the stakes are high for both educational institutions and their students.

Colleges have a pivotal role to play in guiding students through their financial journey. Yet, the pitfalls of hidden fees, unclear disclosures, and automatic enrollments can catch students off guard, particularly when they have no other financing options, effectively creating a captive market.

For educational institutions considering the implementation of tuition payment plans, compliance and transparency are paramount. With Meratas, you can launch your own customized payment plan with best practices in mind.  

If you’re committed to offering a tuition payment plan that balances flexibility with compliance, we invite you to explore how Meratas can assist in achieving this goal.

The CFPB’s full report is available HERE.

Posted under: News and Updates, Tuition Options, Student Loans, MeratasMemo

Career Success: Preparing Students for the Professional World | WEBINAR

Posted on March 8, 2022 by Darius Goldman


Higher education is a community. Like many communities, it has been shaken by the effects of COVID-19.

Now, more than ever, students need career training to be better prepared for the professional world. ?

We at Meratas recently hosted a one-hour webinar with executive leaders from all corners of higher education:

– Michael Zawisky, CEO at Ancora Education

– Erin Vargas, COO at Bellus Academy

– Eric Hall, Assistant VP of Career Services at Southern New Hampshire University

– Natalie Petersen, VP of Marketing & Sales at Virtanza

Our panel of industry leaders from across higher education will discuss and share unique insights about their institutions, how they’re approaching the career readiness landscape, and how higher education’s partnership with employers will evolve in the coming years.

Posted under: Webinars, MeratasMemo

Meratas CEO Darius Goldman on This Week in Startups

Posted on December 1, 2020 by Darius Goldman

Here at Meratas, we were incredibly excited that our own CEO, Darius Goldman, was recently featured on the podcast This Week in Startups hosted by Jason Calacanis! 


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

The Weekly Roundup: Robert Smith and Income-Based Financing at HBCUs

Posted on December 2, 2020 by Jamie Davis

Welcome to the Meratas Memo’s Weekly Roundup! This is your weekly fix of higher education and alternative financing news. Here are this week’s stories:


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

The Weekly Roundup: A $40M Investment in Montessori

Posted on January 20, 2021 by Jamie Davis

Welcome to the Meratas Memo’s Weekly Roundup! This is your weekly fix of higher education and alternative financing news. Here are this week’s stories:


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

7 Ways to Manage Finances as a Couple

Posted on February 8, 2021 by Darius Goldman

February means that valentine’s day is right around the corner, and finances are an important part of being a couple. After all, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships.


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

How To Budget For The True Cost of College

Posted on March 19, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Every high school student knows full well: College is expensive. And paying for it has become one of the biggest economic problems in America today. At the average private college, the sticker price for tuition, room, and board is $199,500 for the standard 4-year degree And $87,800 for a public 4-year institution (in-state rate).


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

A Guide to Freelance Writing For Beginners

Posted on April 9, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Becoming a freelancer can be rewarding. You’re able to create your own schedule and have the freedom and autonomy you can only get from self-reliance. But how do you start your freelance writing?


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

How To Find a Career You Love

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Darius Goldman

Maybe you’ve just graduated from college and are struggling to figure out what your dream job might be. Or perhaps you are already working a 9-5 job but are feeling unfulfilled in your current role. Finding a career you love may seem like a daunting task but it can be done with motivation and persistence.

“Do what you love” is pretty common career advice but how do you get that career you actually love?

Finding a career you love can be as individual as you are. You will first need to identify your dream career or the qualities of the career you want and then focus on getting the necessary skill sets and education for the job. As unattainable as a dream job may seem, with the right amount of thought and preparation, you can do what you love. Here are six tips to get you started:

1. When You Know It’s Not Working, Quit

1 - Quit

Many people hate their jobs and know that they want to do something different, but stay in that job for a long time. It’s hard to discover what you love doing while staying in a job you hate. If your current situation isn’t working, you need to find something else. Leaving a job is never easy and it may be a bit uncomfortable, but it can also be incredibly powerful because it frees you up to invest all of your energy into finding the next thing. 

If you hate your job but can’t leave it due to the income, make a plan to get out. Start brainstorming and figure out the direction you want to go in. Then, make a plan of attack to get out. Take courses in your off time, study online, and start portfolio projects so you can get closer to where you want to be and closer to leaving the job you hate.

2. Don’t Make Money Your Primary Consideration

If money were no object, what would you do? Would you travel? Spend all of your time with your children? If you’re looking to spend your life doing something you love, the best way to start is to treat financial concerns as secondary. Of course, money can’t be ignored, but don’t let financial pressures dictate your choices if you can help it. Your career should ultimately lead to financial security, but if financial security is the defining motivator, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing what you love. If you allow yourself to pursue your curiosity, you will eventually earn money on your terms.

3. Identify Your Goals and Interests

Even though you may not have a clear vision for your career, you are probably curious about things that may or may not be obvious to you. It’s important to follow your curiosity and uncover your less obvious interests.

Carefully think about your own goals for your career. Consider what you value as an individual and a professional, and use these to guide your decision-making process. For example, if being of service to your community is important to you, you can remember that value when you are researching career paths. Try using an organizer such as a spreadsheet or to generate ideas and visualize your thinking.

According to The Reasons We Work by Shane Parrish, direct motivators—motives that tie directly to the work itself—typically bring out our best performance. The closer our reason for working is to our actual job, the more engaged we’ll be.

Pursuing your interests and motivators sets you on the right path to unlocking who you want to be. Frequently, these will be things that do not appear pragmatic and sometimes may seem downright frivolous. A classic example is Steve Jobs’ curiosity for typefaces which led him to attend what seemed to be a useless class on typography. Later, this class became an essential part of Apple computers in the marketplace.

Consider asking yourself these questions as you are identifying your goals and interests:

Whatever you do, don’t let a lack of clarity stop you from moving forward.

4. Identify What Your Strengths Are

You will not be good at everything. But following your interests is a great way to discover and develop the natural talents you possess. Once you’ve discovered your goals and interests, identifying your strengths is the next step.  Career satisfaction is all about finding that special place between things that interest you and what your strengths are.

What are you skilled at? For example, some of us are natural entrepreneurs who hold ourselves accountable and eagerly sell our stuff. Others need to work hard to make offers to customers and stick to deadlines. You might be great at problem solving and math, or you might prefer to create meaning through words instead of numbers.

Great books, teachers, bosses, and coaches are vital in helping us do exactly that.

If you are looking for a job right now, it’s important to have the self-awareness to identify the things you are skilled at today. While you can always build new skills in the future, your current abilities are what will be most appealing to an employer right away.

5. Develop your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is your professional identity and how you package it. This is an important part of positioning yourself to find a career you love. Just as a company’s brand identity encompasses everything from its logo and messaging to its customer service, your personal brand encompasses all of you.

Make sure your personal brand is authentic, consistent, and tailored to each specific position for which you apply. In developing your personal brand and resume to showcase it for the field you want to pursue, think about how your current skills and talents apply to the responsibilities you’ll hold in the new job.

Experience is a great attribute to have in your job hunt, but it’s not the only one. You also need to look at the quality of that experience: the skills and knowledge you have accumulated over time. Just make sure you emphasize the qualities and skills that you do have to support the job description.

6. Brainstorm careers

Once you have articulated your career goals and your values, you can brainstorm types of vocations that might fulfill both. The perfect job for you may be one you have yet to discover, so be sure to research with an open mind. Tools such as career aptitude tests, and online career boards can expose you to new and exciting job types. Consider keeping track of the jobs that pique your interest using a spreadsheet or list as well.

7. Get a mentor

Pick a person in your network who knows you and can act as your champion, such as a former manager, coach, or professor. People who care about your output, who push you, and inspire you are those you should hold close during times of growth. They don’t have to be recognized figures from your ideal industry. They just need to provide advice and help you uncover your interests.

This person can potentially help you gain insight into your desired career, serve as a reference for you, look over your resume, or help you expand your network of opportunities.

8. Build your network

Closely related to finding a mentor, a powerful network is key to finding the right opportunity. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that at least 70% of jobs are found through networking.

As you seek a more fulfilling career path, begin by prioritizing learning about other industries, companies, and job functions over finding actual job openings. Do your homework. Talk to people. When you meet someone doing something interesting, dig in to learn more. If you have a few ideas of career paths that interest you, reach out to established individuals in those domains. Ask specific questions that show you’ve done your research.

Engaging in professional development such as classes and networking social events can also help you make connections while learning new skills. Check online resources for learning opportunities in a career field that interests you. Consider joining professional organizations in the industry of your choice. Building out your profile on Linkedin and networking on this platform will help build your network and expand your options as well.

9. Gain relevant experience and skills

This will, of course, beef up your resume—especially important for career changers who are trying to reposition themselves for a new job or industry.

The best way to know whether you may enjoy a particular career path might be to try it out. Consider job shadowing, interning, or working as a temp in a role you think you might enjoy. The temporary nature of these experiences allows you to get a sense of the duties of a particular career without an initial long-term commitment. Then, you can make a knowledgeable decision about pursuing that career path if and when a permanent opportunity arises.

For many, the fastest way to a new career is through a skills training program or Bootcamp. Get started here.

10. Reflect and assess

Throughout your career search, periodically reflect on what you have learned about potential career options and how your goals may have changed. Frequently evaluate your progress and make adjustments as necessary.

This is the final step after learning about yourself, your aspirations, and the industry in which you are thinking about working in.

Rebrand yourself by revising your resume, cover letter, and social media profiles to reflect your updated career goals and to highlight new and relevant skills.

The journey never ends. But you’ll enjoy it a heck of a lot more once you sort out a job that makes you proud and content. Finding balance takes time and planning. But a job you’re passionate about can go a long way in supporting your mental health and overall happiness.


Posted under: MeratasMemo, Uncategorized

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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.