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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!

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

Career Schools: How To Simplify Student Financing With A Single Application To Multiple Lenders

Posted on September 14, 2023 by Jamie Davis

With an embedded lending platform, you can easily provide your students with seamless access to multiple lenders.

As more students seek post-pandemic career skilling and re-training, over 80% of students will need to  rely on financing to help cover their tuition costs. This challenges schools to handle the burden of managing multiple financing offers that meet the needs of their students across the financial spectrum and in different locations.

There’s an easier way to take care of your students’ financing needs. 
In this post, we’ll break down how you can seamlessly offer multiple lending options from the providers of your choice, through a standard application, and handle post-payment management, including disputes, reconciliations, and reports. This way you can focus your time and energy on providing a first-class education, while letting a platform take care of your student financing offer.

Providing Multiple Financing Options – Opportunities and Challenges

Consumers increasingly expect a choice of payment options at the moment of purchase. Lenders typically specialize in a specific lending product, and type of customer for example prime, near-prime, or subprime, and geography. This means that to meet the needs of all students, schools need to integrate more than one lender into their offer. However, this presents significant challenges:

Once these challenges are overcome, and students have quick and easy access to personalized financing that offers them flexibility and choice, schools benefit from improved approval rates, increased average tuition value, and more enrollments.

What Schools Need From a Multi-Lender Financing Platform

Schools require a consumer financing solution that frees them up to focus on the day-to-day running of their business and provide students with the best possible education. Their main concerns for a financing solution are that it:

The most efficient way to overcome these challenges is through a multi-lender platform embedded within the student’s journey that offers a seamless financing experience for both the student and the school.

Why Meratas is the Leading Multi-Lender Financing Platform for Schools

Meratas is the only platform that connects schools, lenders, and students seamlessly, embedding a complete private financing solution into the student journey. Meratas’ network of over 80+ national lenders covers the entire student financial spectrum from prime to subprime and also educational and personal loan options.

Students simply need to complete a quick application and the platform will search for the best financing offers using a ‘waterfall’ method starting with prime lenders that offer the best terms, followed by near-prime, then subprime loans, or even school offered payment payments where students have even more choice. Within seconds, students are offered the best financing options based on their unique financial needs and preferences.

The Meratas platform offers the easiest and most efficient solution for schools too. It’s quick to integrate and easy to use as it enables end-to-end management of the entire financing process, including running multiple inhouse payment plan options built around flexibility towards your students’ unique needs.

How Meratas Can Benefit Career Schools

Are you a school that’s looking to improve your enrollment, retention, and student experience? Meratas can be a valuable tool in your toolkit. Click here to get started! 

Posted under: School Resources, Student Success, Tuition Options, Student Loans

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 Increase Enrollment as a Trucking School

Posted on by Jamie Davis

In 2021, the truck driver shortage reached a record high of 80,000 drivers. As a trucking school, you might’ve seen this coming given the declining enrollment rates in CDL programs.

To keep enrollment on the rise, and to make a dent in the truck driver shortage, here’s 8 things you can do.

1. Acknowledge the Financial Barriers to Attendance

CDL programs range from $2,500 to $8,000 and aren’t eligible for Title IV funding. This leaves many students unable to afford enrolling. Thus, it’s important to acknowledge the financial barriers students face, while offering proper solutions.

If you can, offer robust scholarship opportunities, or partner with local organizations to create scholarship programs.

2. Offer Flexible Financing Options

If scholarships aren’t an option, consider offering flexible financing. A multi-lender marketplace, like Meratas, allows students to submit one application and receive a list of financing options, complete with both private loans and in-house payment plans.

In-house payment plans allow you to provide the funding and receive payments directly from students. This allows you to develop custom tuition plans that fit your business goals and appeal to students. When students have obtainable financing options, they’re far more likely to enroll.

3. Leverage Data on Career Outcomes

The average base salary of a truck driver is $82,053 — significantly higher than most entry-level positions. And, given the fairly low educational barrier to entry, the job placement rate tends to be higher — around 86% for some programs.

Make sure to leverage this data to your advantage. How much do alumni of your program end up making in their first year post-graduation? Who are they working for? What is your job placement rate? Use this information to make your program stand out amidst the bunch.

4. Clarify the Requirements to Receive a CDL License

In 2022, new regulations for Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) were released, leaving some aspiring truck drivers confused about the level of training they need. To simplify the process, consider adding a one-pager to your website that explains the process in detail.

This gives prospective students a better understanding of what they need to do, making it easier to feel confident in the decision to enroll. This also positions your school as a knowledgeable program, giving peace of mind about the quality of your program to prospective students.

5. Conduct Presentations in Female-Only Schools and Organizations

Women make up only 7% of all truck driversmuch lower than their overall representation in the workforce. Encouraging more women to pursue this field can lead to higher enrollment rates and help reduce the overall shortage.

If you’re having trouble reaching women, consider presenting to female-only organizations and schools. Utilize stories of female truck drivers to bring to life the experience, share the pros and cons, and help women feel confident in their decision to obtain their CDL.

6. Partner with Local High Schools

In some states, local high schools are expanding their course offerings to expose teens to the trucking industry. For example, Patterson High School in California now offers an elective course for seniors to help students learn workplace skills through hands-on training.

The instructor, Dave Dein, says, “If we don’t start promoting trucking to our youth, they only can make decisions on the information they have.” This makes teaching them about the trucking industry crucial.

Consider reaching out to the high schools near you to partner on an elective course on truck driving. If traditional schools don’t have such courses, reach out to vocational high schools in the area. They will already have the infrastructure needed to build out hands-on training.

This will expose younger students to the field and your program, helping you enroll more students and send more licensed drivers into the workforce.

7. Up Your Marketing Game

Want to reach a new, younger audience? Get on social media and lean into quirky content.

Colleges like Louisiana State University and the University of Utah have leveraged TikTok to create relatable, funny, trending content that reaches thousands of potential students each day. While a few trucking schools have made their way onto the platform, most aren’t using it to its fullest capacity.

Take inspiration from top universities on social media platforms and create a fun marketing strategy that’s bound to attract new students. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

8. Create Educational Content

The trucking industry is full of misconceptions like:

To dispel some of these myths, create educational content. Whether you share it on social media, a blog, or in the presentations you do, breaking down misconceptions will allow more people to consider trucking as a potential career.

The Broader Impact of Low Enrollment

Increasing enrollment in your trucking program isn’t just about hitting internal goals, it’s about the industry as a whole. Without proper enrollment rates, the truck driver shortage will continue to reach new heights. With fewer truck drivers on the road, supply chains will be disrupted and consumers will be impacted.

So, while focusing on increasing enrollment, think about the bigger picture. Taking just a few small actions to get more students into your program will shape the economy as a whole for years to come.

Posted under: School Resources, Tuition Options, Student Loans

Meratas at Lendit Fintech 2022

Posted on May 13, 2022 by Darius Goldman

And our platform provides the full-service solution to this rising problem.

With an average annual growth rate of nearly 25%, the financial technology industry is among the fastest-growing worldwide. The latest fintech statistics suggest that the sector should hit a value of almost $310 billion by 2022 if this positive trend continues. 

In a couple of weeks, the Meratas team will join some of the biggest names in fintech at the Lendit Fintech conference, which brings together leaders in Fintech for a multi-day summit on the future of financial technology.  We will be LIVE & in 4K ? in New York on May 25 – 26th! 

 The keynote stage features Christ Britt, co-founder and CEO of Chime, and Dave Girouard, co-founder & CEO of Upstart, among others.

We’ll be exploring the complexities of our rapidly changing world through insightful sessions focused on the most critical trends in fintech and lending technology.  

We’re the multi-tenant platform to originate and service ISAs and other incentive-aligned tuition programs. 

Our configurable, Learn Now Pay Later platform is provided to institutions within a consumer-facing cloud application that streamlines the end-to-end process of originating and servicing a loan.

We’re excited to join some of the biggest names in Fintech at the Lendit Fintech Conference.  

As a leading provider of flexible financing solutions, we’re looking forward to sharing our insights with the Lendit community and connecting with other like-minded individuals shaping the future of finance. 

Like much of the economy today, financial services are experiencing a rapid upheaval. We are seeing a multi-decade transformation where fintech will take center stage as everything becomes digital. We’re excited to join the leaders in the space to discuss and share insights at LendIt Fintech Digital and join the community for in-depth learning from others.  

Now more than ever, strategies to reach students where they are and give them the confidence and knowledge to succeed in their journey are essential. 

There’s never been a better and more exciting time to be in financing services. If you’re attending the conference, schedule a meeting through this link with our team Darius Goldman, Paul Dhaliwal, and Cole Reynolds at Meratas.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Posted under: News and Updates, School Resources

Benefits of Learn Now Pay Later For Certification Programs

Posted on May 10, 2022 by Darius Goldman

Educational programs, schools, and boot camps alike are beginning to incorporate Learn Now Pay Later (LNPL) into their financial offerings, but what about certification programs?  

First Off, What is a Certification Program? 

Typically, certificate programs prepare students to work in a specialized trade or update their professional skills. Certification programs can range from welding to nursing to even some coding programs. 

They can also vary based on what experience level they’re designed for, from total novices to employee upskilling programs. Most certificates can be earned in less than a year – some in as short as a few weeks. Because they take less time to complete, they also cost a lot less than earning a degree for students.

But how exactly does offering Learn Now Pay Later at your Certification Program help you? 

They open access to more students

Even programs that begin at more accessible price points can often be too large a barrier for many students. As a result, more and more students choose to forgo upskilling or finding a new career due to financial limitations.

Many students want to upskill and get the tools needed to start a new career, but they need more options to pay for their program.

Students are met with more financial barriers each semester, causing too much friction between them and higher ed success, forcing students to end their journey earlier and more often than they otherwise would. 

By offering LNPL-style tuition solutions at your school, students have the opportunity to take classes when they otherwise wouldn’t. 

They provide a consistent way to fund your program 

Many students cannot pay the total price of an education program up front and need different financing options. 

However, many certification programs do not qualify for Title 4 funding meaning their students are usually limited in how they can pay for a program, oftentimes turning to private loans.

LNPL provides certification programs with a consistent, yet student-friendly way to offer different financing options to their students. Offering payment plans like a Pay-in-4 or Fixed payment plan gives your students a more flexible way to pay while also providing your institution with consistent funding.

In addition, LNPL (through tools like Meratas) also offers a variety of other repayment options that can be tailored to the needs of students. For example, some students may want to make larger payments to pay off their program faster, while others may need to spread their payments over an extended period.

Overall, LNPL provides certification programs with a flexible and manageable way to provide financing to their students.

They signal the value of your program to prospective students

The number one thing we’ve identified as a barrier to increasing enrollment is too few payment options for students. Offering multiple payment options not only provides your students with more options to pay for their training, but it also shows the value of your program against others that are less flexible.

Most schools are solely focused on building strong student success teams, investing in their student experience, and improving student outcomes. 

While it makes sense to invest in these things, schools aren’t seeing increases in enrollment with these changes. Enrollment is still declining, and students are dropping out of their programs even more consistently. More than 1 million fewer students are in college.  According to new data released in January of 2022, U.S. colleges and universities saw a drop of nearly 500,000 undergraduate students in the fall of 2021, continuing a historic decline that began the previous fall.

While student experience is an unquestionably important pillar of any institution’s overall growth strategy and should be invested in, they need more than that. 

LNPL programs allow certification programs to control their future and help them hit enrollment goals while also improving retention and signaling the value of their course to students.

They make employer partnerships easier 

For programs that are designed with employee up-skilling in mind, LNPL options make it easier to establish employer partnerships.  

These kinds of partnerships can provide great returns for these institutions. By offering LNPL options for the employer to finance their employees’ upskilling program, employers can spread the cost of upskilling out over time, which is a massive value add for your institution that many other upskilling programs wouldn’t be able to otherwise offer. 

The best way to attract new students is by offering them options to pay for upskilling their careers in your certification program. If you’re ready to begin offering your own LNPL financing options and fill empty seats at your program, you need Meratas. Meratas is an all-in-one, cloud-based platform to originate and service Learn Now, Pay Later style tuition programs. If you want to learn more, check out our partner’s page for more information or schedule a meeting with a member of our team.  Check out our Partners page to learn more! 

Posted under: School Resources

Shift Summit 2022 Key Takeaways

Posted on April 6, 2022 by Darius Goldman

My team and I were at Shift Summit to discuss “Shifting the Student Experience” within institutions. Financial barriers are the leading reason students do not pursue or complete their degrees. 

At Shift Summit, we were able to explore new ideas and solutions to create an ideal student experience through Student Financial Success. As well as learn how to surpass strategic enrollment, retention, diversity, and graduation goals. At Shift Summit, my team and I joined other leaders in enrollment, recruitment, financial aid, diversity, and student affairs to explore solutions to these financial barriers. We were able to pull some great perspectives from others that helped us to feel strong about our mission as a company.

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s conference, or you attended but couldn’t clone yourself and be present at the multiple breakout sessions, here are some of our key takeaways.

1. You Need More Than A Strong Student Experience

A strong student experience is integral to your program. It will help students go through your program effectively, and in a way, they’ll enjoy and find valuable. 

That being said, we learned that a strong student experience and success is not enough. Most schools are solely focused on building strong student success teams, investing in their student experience, and improving student outcomes. 

While it makes sense to invest in these things, schools aren’t seeing massive ROI with these changes. Enrollment is still declining, and students are dropping out of their programs even more consistently.

While student experience is an unquestionably important pillar of any institution’s overall growth strategy and should be invested in, they need more than that. 

2. You Could Have the Best Education Program in the World, But Financing Determines Your Success

More and more students choose to forgo their college careers or end their higher education journey due to financial limitations.

These barriers happen at the beginning of the journey, during enrollment, and at various points that affect retention. Many institutions may think that once a student is enrolled and has their first round of tuition covered, that’s it. But the issue goes beyond that.

Students are met with more financial barriers each semester, causing too much friction between them and higher ed success. This forces them to end their student journey earlier and more often than they otherwise would. 

3. The Answer is a Better Financial Journey

In the same way, schools and institutions are investing in their student experience, they have to support their students in their financial journey too.

Students don’t just want better options; they want more of them. 

They might want to make a few upfront payments and then spread out the rest of the cost over time or link their tuition repayment to their income. They want more options that fit them and their needs. Choices that will meet them where they’re at and give them the flexibility to pay on their terms.

A strong student experience is essential, but it won’t give you a strong ROI without an equally strong student finance experience. Schools being more involved in their student’s financial journey by offering more payment options is essential. A better financial journey is what will open more doors, invite more students in, and help improve their long-term retention. Without it, not only will students continue to face the financial barriers they’ve been facing for while now, they will also be less likely to stick to their programs and see them through. 

Students need a better higher ed finance experience. Shift Summit helped me realize that even more people share our mission of making education more accessible through more and better student tuition options.

Posted under: News and Updates, School Resources

Resources and Tools for Educators to Help Students Be Successful

Posted on February 16, 2022 by Darius Goldman

The amount of information out there on how to help your students succeed can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are strategies that take the uncertainty out of helping college students succeed. We’ve compiled the top resources to help your students achieve their goals and have fun while doing it.

Be Creative

Getting students to engage in the learning process will maximize their results and help each student reach their full potential. One of the best ways to capture your students’ attention is to be creative and think outside the box. For example, implementing debates and games can help keep them engaged and eager for future lessons.

Provide Relevant Study Materials

Although lectures and tutorials will provide most of the content for your course, some students will need additional help to grasp your subject thoroughly. One of the best ways of overcoming this barrier is providing online resources, such as workbooks, ebooks, and past papers. These high-quality materials allow your students to get a feel for exam-style questions and drastically improve their preparation. In addition, all content is available from within Blackboard to make them simple to access at home or on campus.

Vary Your Instruction

When you vary teaching methods, you provide students with more learning opportunities. Every student has different strengths and weaknesses. Instead of just focusing on one method that only appeals to a single learning style, varying your teaching techniques allow you to cater your lessons to different learning styles. Students will be more successful if they are more engaged and are taught in a style that speaks to them.

Set Achievable Goals

To engage your students throughout the semester, you want to set challenging yet attainable goals for them. Work with them to determine goals that they’d be happy with and how you can work together to achieve them. This can help hold your students accountable and allow them to reach their potential.

Set High Expectations

Cultivate an academic environment in your classroom by setting high, but not impossible, expectations for your students. Push students to achieve higher standards and they will eventually get there—and along the way, offer lots of praise. Of course, some may take more time than others, but all students want to be told, “You’re smart, and you’re doing a good job.”

Be Transparent and Ready to Help

Provide your students with a clear and detailed syllabus at the beginning of the year. It should explain your grading policies, attendance rules, expected class behavior, and any other information they’ll need. For example, if you assign essays or research papers, give them a copy of your rubric, so they know exactly what’s expected of them. One reason some students fail is that they are not clear on what is expected of them during a course.  

If a student gets a C- on an essay but never had the reasoning behind the grade explained to them, they won’t know what to improve on in the future and will likely put in little effort on the next assignment.

Continually Grow in Your Profession

With new ideas and research available, it is essential to keep up with the latest information through online forums, workshops, and professional journals. This willl lead to increased student interest and greater success. In addition, teaching the same lessons each school year can become monotonous over time. This can result in uninspired teaching. In this case, students will pick up on this and become bored and distracted. Including new ideas and teaching methods can make a huge difference. 

Here are 15 of the best teacher resources to get you started!

Best Teacher Resources

1. TeachHUB Education Blog

Technology, teaching strategies, and classroom management – this blog has these all covered. Every week, new content is published about using technology and practical teaching strategies. This blog also provides ways to utilize classroom resources to build stronger relationships with students.

2. Library Stuff

A law librarian’s blog that shares daily bits of education news, current state, conferences, periodicals, and tons of other information can be exhausted for professional development. Stay in the loop with the latest updates on education by subscribing to this personal teacher website.

EdWeek offers daily news and fantastic advice on addressing everyday classroom scenarios for passionate educators. In addition, browsing this blog will provide you with easy access to e-books, professional development kits, and links to follow-worthy blogs related to education.

Learn to code with these one-hour tutorials designed for learners of all ages in over 45 languages.

5. The Hechinger Report

Showcasing in-depth journalism at a whole new level, The Hechinger Report deals with the latest innovation and everyday issues on education and academics. In addition, the website tackles a plethora of timely topics, including blended learning, early education, higher education, high school reform, teacher preparation, and so much more.

6. High Techpectations

Lucy Gray designed her blog to inspire today’s educators. Here, she shares ideas, resources, downloadable PDFs, and multiple valuable links for the savvy teacher. Plus, you’ll get easy access to her YouTube workshop by joining in!

7. Education World

Education World is a complete online resource for teachers, administrators, and school staff to find high-quality and in-depth original content. In addition, they offer more than 1,000 free lessons.

8. Everfi

Everfi offers free digital courses that are interactive and standards-based. The focus is on real-world learning, with classes offered in financial literacy, STEM, social-emotional learning, health, and wellness,

9. Edutech for Teachers

A blog created and maintained by an instructional technology specialist based in Central Philadelphia. The site is dedicated to sharing innovative teaching strategies using digital media and the latest technology devices to engage students further and provide a millennial educational experience.

10. Library of Congress

The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching.

According to their website, the mission of the National Gallery of Art is to serve the USA in a national role by preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards.

12. National Geographic

Bring National Geographic to your classroom through lesson plans, maps, and reference resources.

13. The New York Times

Teach and learn with The Times. Articles and questions, writing prompts, and lesson plans coordinate with The New York Times Learning Network for teens. This site also provides access to professional growth resources and webinars for teachers and students’ activities.

14. Newsela

Newsela is a database of current events stories tailor-made for classroom use. Indexed by broad themes (e.g., War and Peace, Arts, Science, Health, Law, Money), stories are student-friendly and can be accessed in different formats by reading level.

15. NSTA

National Science Teachers Association promotes excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. This site gives teachers access to NSTA magazines for students and teachers and lesson plans.

Students want to succeed and oftentimes the best way to help them do that is by creating an engaging, goal-oriented lesson plan. Get creative, tailor your lessons to your students, and always be learning yourself. If you feel stuck with your current teaching style, these resources are here to help! Did we miss any resources?  What resources have you used to help your students succeed? Drop them in the comments!

Posted under: School Resources

How To Use Social Media Marketing As A Recruitment Tool At Your University

Posted on February 8, 2022 by Darius Goldman

If you’re not using social media as a recruitment tool, you’re missing out on an easy and quick way to reach potential students. Your university needs to establish brand awareness and relationships with students. Social media is by far the best tool to do that. 

Social media is essential for your university it’s how students connect and communicate. Your social media strategy can be a great recruitment tool; you need to meet your prospective students, current students, and alumni where they are.

An effective social media marketing strategy can be a great recruitment tool, a convenient way to share announcements quickly, an effective way to build a community, and so much more.

Widespread access to the internet and digital media has transformed the education sector completely. For example, Facebook today has more than 2.3 billion monthly active users, while Instagram now has over 1 billion monthly active accounts. With social media platforms becoming more popular day by day, the way we consume information is also changing significantly. 

If you are considering implementing a social media marketing strategy for your higher education institution, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll take you through some essential tips and points to keep in mind when developing your social media marketing plan.

1. Presenting Yourself online

The best way to get your school noticed is through constant use of social media, email marketing, and blog posts. From blogs and social media posts to recruitment materials, your school brand needs to be consistently promoted in relevant places across all of your different touchpoints. In addition, to have a positive image with potential learners, you need to ensure that what they see on social media matches what they read on your website and see on your other channels.

Social media use in higher education and boot camps is important in setting the tone on campus. Promote and represent the kind of culture your school aims to cultivate. Make your institution’s mission and values known. Let prospective students, faculty, and partners know they’re welcome and supported. Show off some accomplishments and defining characteristics of your university by posting content related to that. Feature the clubs, communities, and social opportunities attendees can get involved in. Show off the campus. Help them understand the benefits your institution offers beyond academic study. 

For example, share the accomplishments of your students and teachers/ faculty members. Make it easy for students to picture their future at your university.

2. Develop a social media strategy

Social media channels are important, but having a cohesive strategy is even more crucial.

In this Social Campus Report, 76% of respondents say defining a clear social media marketing strategy and objectives is their top priority. Another 45% hope to coordinate social strategy campus-wide.

So it’s crucial to align social strategy back to the university’s core objectives.

64% of professionals agree that social media should connect to the strategic plan and institutional mission.

For example, look at Georgia State University’s #TheStateWay campaign. It has four pillars

Meanwhile, the University of Sydney uses social media to support its four big strategic goals:

3. Be platform-specific

Every social media platform has its unique advantages for higher ed, from blogging to Instagram. As you move forward in establishing your social media presence, it’s important to weigh how each platform can help achieve your campus and community goals. 

For example, you could use Facebook to engage students and alumni around on-campus events while hosting discussions on Quora.

Recruiting is about finding and connecting with new students in new and innovative ways. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are essential to this effort—but they are not the only tools in your toolbox. 

Pinterest and Flipboard can increase brand awareness, and Medium and WordPress can be used to publish blog content for your network.

Twitter is a great platform to reshare success stories from your students and engage with them by retweeting anything they mention about your school. Instagram is a great platform to reach students as well as build your presence. 

4. Use Social Media Tools

Content calendars allow you to maintain a consistent social media presence by planning and scheduling your posts.

Having a content calendar is an essential part of any social media strategy. If you’re spending time each day just to figure out what you should publish, you start to focus too much on the small details rather than your overall strategy. A content calendar keeps you in control by helping you focus on the big picture. Tools like Hootsuite, Sendible, Falcon.io, and Sprout Social will help make managing your social media strategy that much easier. 

Some Other Tools To Use!

5. Create a hashtag for your university

Create a specific hashtag for your university or Bootcamp that isn’t used anywhere else. Then, encourage students to use the hashtag on their social media accounts and tell them to share pictures from the campus and other university-related events.

You can encourage your students to use it by reposting the content under your hashtag on Instagram and Stories. By having your own hashtag, you’ll encourage students to promote your social media content and initiatives organically and make it easier for other students to find you on your various channels.

Hopefully, these tips have been useful on starting your own social media program at your Bootcamp or University! Looking to increase enrollment in other ways? Offering more tuition options is a great way to get started. 

Posted under: School Resources

6 Ways to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp

Posted on March 7, 2023 by Jamie Davis

Coding bootcamps aren’t cheap — the average program will run you around $13,580 in tuition alone. If shelling out the cash upfront isn’t an option, we don’t blame you.

Here’s six ways to pay for a coding bootcamp without dipping into your pockets.

Apply to Scholarships First

Scholarships are free money, which means you never have to pay them back. So, before you pursue any other options, apply to as many scholarships as you can.

Here’s a few places to look:

  1. Your program itself
  2. Course Report
  3. BestColleges
  4. Scholarships360
  5. The Society for Women Engineers

Keep in mind that many bootcamp scholarships will be need-based, meaning you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re unable to afford the program otherwise. If you don’t fall into the threshold considered for need-based aid, narrow your search to focus on just merit-based aid.

If you don’t secure any scholarships your first year, keep applying throughout your program. There are tons of scholarships available that aren’t exclusively for first-year students. And, many students don’t know they can apply beyond their first year, so competition for these funds tends to be better.

Look at Your Employer’s Benefits

Many employers offer to cover a portion of tuition for job-related training. While some will only cover a small portion of the cost, others will reimburse you for the entire expense.

Keep in mind that these aren’t always advertised openly, so don’t be afraid to ask your boss directly. Some companies don’t offer it typically, but may be willing to if you’ve been a valuable worker they want to retain.

If your current employer doesn’t offer these benefits, consider applying with a company that does. For example, Verizon offers free technical training through their Skill Forward program.

Use the GI Bill If You Have It

If you’re a veteran with access to GI Bill benefits, make sure to use them. There are a variety of coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funds, which would save you quite a bit.

To determine which programs do, use the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill Comparison tool. Here’s a few schools that do accept GI Bill money to kick off your search:

  1. The Flatiron School
  2. General Assembly
  3. Coding Dojo – San Jose
  4. Sabio Enterprises

Look Into Private or Personal Loans

If an income-share agreement isn’t an option, or if you’d prefer a more traditional loan, consider a private or personal loan. Keep in mind that most private lenders don’t work with coding bootcamps, but some do — they just might be more challenging to find.

Personal loans are also an option — just beware of the interest rate. Average personal loan rates range from 9.30% to 22.16%, which can skyrocket your overall debt total quickly.

Before agreeing to any loan, always compare your options through Meratas first. This will allow you to see all your options in one place to verify which loan option is best for you. Then, you can complete the application within the Meratas platform, keeping the entire loan process in one place.

Consider Crowdfunding

While asking for support from others doesn’t always feel comfortable, crowdfunding can be a successful way to pay for your degree. Platforms like GoFundMe allow you to set up a virtual fundraiser, share the page with friends and family, and accept donations. While they do take a cut from the money you receive, it helps centralize the fundraising process.

What About Federal Financial Aid?

Unfortunately, coding bootcamps aren’t eligible to receive federal financial aid. While this will save you from the headache that is the FAFSA process, it’ll mean you need to look elsewhere for funding. If you’re approached by anyone stating that you need to submit your federal financial aid forms or that you’re eligible for federal aid, it’s likely a scam.

Other Things to Consider

Before investing in a costly degree, it’s important to assess the potential return on your investment. Ask yourself:

If you aren’t quite sure, it might be best to rethink where you plan to enroll. Also, consider whether the program offers a tuition guarantee. Programs like The Flatiron School offer a full tuition refund if you don’t find a qualifying role within six months of graduating. While most schools don’t do this, it’s a nice layer of protection to have in your back pocket.

Posted under: School Resources, Tuition Options

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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.