fbpx

What’s Your Perfect Career? Take the Free Quiz

Which School is Perfect For You? Find Out!

8 Scholarships for Coding Bootcamps

Posted on May 8, 2023 by Jamie Davis

Coding bootcamps range in price from around $7,500 for a part-time program to $13,500 for a full-time program, on average. While there are a variety of ways to cover the cost, scholarships are the first option you should pursue.

Why Scholarships?

Unlike other forms of financial aid — like loans — scholarships are free money, meaning you won’t have to pay them back. Loans, on the other hand, are borrowed money, meaning you’ll need to pay them back with interest. By maximizing the amount of free money you receive, you can limit the amount you borrow in loans.

8 Scholarships for Coding Bootcamp

Here’s 8 of the most compelling coding bootcamp scholarships we found:

Horatio Alger Career and Technical Scholarship

We Stand Together Scholarship

Women Who Code + Linux Foundation Scholarship

Brainstation Scholarships

Flatiron School Access Scholarship

Code Platoon Veteran and Military Spouse Scholarship

Lesbians Who Tech Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship

DevPoint Labs Learn to Code Scholarship

Where to Find Scholarships for Coding Bootcamp

Most scholarships are intended for college students, which can make finding coding bootcamp scholarships quite the hassle if you’re doing a simple Google search. Instead, use the list below to tailor your search.

Your Program

Your program itself likely offers scholarships. However, unlike a college education, you may not see these scholarships automatically awarded to you in your acceptance letter. You may need to contact the program directly to inquire about the opportunities.

For example, Coding Dojo offers the Coding Dojo Fresh Start Fund Scholarship for students enrolled full-time in their bootcamp. Codewise offers the Fellows Diversity Scholarship for students from underserved backgrounds, but you must be enrolled in a Code Fellows course to qualify.

Local Organizations

Local organizations — like your local Rotary group, nonprofits, and even the senior center — may offer scholarship opportunities. If you’re unsure where to look, don’t be afraid to contact the local high school for information. If they’re preparing their students for college, they may be willing to share the available scholarship opportunities with you.

Your Parents’ Employers

Some companies offer scholarships for employees and their families. Research your parents’ or guardians’ company to see what they offer, or contact them directly to inquire.

Do Service for Scholarships

Sites like DoSomething.org incentivize users to complete service by counting the hours completed as entries to scholarship opportunities. If you’re already doing service hours, it might be worthwhile to sign up for a DoSomething program to put those hours to use.

Contact Alumni Organizations

If your program has an alumni organization, consider reaching out to them. You may find these groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or via a simple Google search. In some cases, they may offer scholarships, but you’ll likely need to seek them out.

Tip: Skip Scholarship Search Websites

Most scholarship search engines, like Scholarships.com, Niche, and Fastweb, won’t be worthwhile to explore. While they compile thousands of scholarships into one place, they often don’t have much for coding bootcamp students. Their focus is primarily on college scholarships, which won’t benefit you.

What to Do if You Don’t Get Enough Scholarships

If you don’t receive enough scholarships to cover the cost of the program, don’t panic. There are other ways to cover the bill.

Ask Your Employer

If you’re currently working, review your employee handbook and benefits package. Over half of employers offer tuition assistance for furthering your education, but just 2% of employees participate in the program. In some cases, your employer may cover the entire cost of the program, so it isn’t an opportunity you want to miss out on.

Look for Employers That Cover the Cost

If your employer doesn’t offer tuition assistance, it might be worthwhile to look for one that does. Companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple offer reimbursement for qualified education expenses.

Borrow a Student Loan

Student loans should be your last resort. While it isn’t bad to borrow, you’ll need to pay the loan back with interest, so it’s best to explore all other options before taking out a loan.


If you do borrow, make sure to use a student loan search tool like Meratas to find the best loan option for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to search one-by-one via Google, and most results will show lenders that don’t work with bootcamp students. The Meratas Lender Marketplace, however, is designed specifically for trade, tech, and bootcamp students, so you won’t see loan offers you don’t qualify for.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources, Student Loans

7 Crucial Steps to Successfully Change Careers

Posted on by Jamie Davis

Changing careers can be daunting — venturing into a new field, being a “beginner” all over again, and the overwhelming question of, “Will this even work?” To set yourself up for success, follow the 7 steps below to guide you through the process of a career change.

Determine Your Why

Before making the plunge, take a moment to think. It may sound silly or useless, but processing where you are and where you’d like to be is crucial. It will give you a stronger idea of where you’re headed, which can help you figure out the steps you need to take in between to get there.

Use this time to determine:

Scroll Through Job Postings

To further evaluate the gaps between where you are and where you’re headed, scroll through job postings on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster.

Look closely at the requirements for roles you’re interested in to identify skills and competencies you’ll need to refine to be a competitive applicant. Make a list of the areas you want to improve — this will help you generate a concrete plan to improve them.

Note: If the job postings are boring you to death, this might be a sign that the field isn’t as exciting as you once thought. If that’s the case, but you’re still craving a career change, explore similar roles using O*NET Online. You’ll be able to explore a variety of careers within similar industries that may have more compelling tasks that excite you.

Conduct Informational Interviews With Employees in The Field

To better understand the reality of the field you hope to pursue, conduct an informational interview with an employee in the field. This could be someone you know, someone you contact through LinkedIn, or a friend of a friend.

The purpose of the interview is to gain a better understanding of what it’s truly like to work within the field. Ask the interviewee strong questions that can’t be answered through a simple Google search. For example:

Avoid questions like:

Informational interviews can help you further identify gaps in your skillset, while also gaining a better understanding of the true requirements of the role.

Find a Mentor

For additional guidance in making the transition, find a mentor. Mentors can offer support, valuable insights, constructive feedback, and encouragement — all incredibly helpful while making a career change.

To find a mentor:

Consider Educational Options

Once you’ve got a clear path of where you’d headed, consider the education you may need to get there. Does your dream career require a Bachelor’s degree, or are trade, tech, or online bootcamp programs a better option?

For example, careers like lawyers and doctors require advanced degrees, but fields like nursing and software development can be trained for in low-cost trade and tech programs or traditional colleges. Explore your options to find the education that makes the most sense for you.

Rework Your Resume

After gaining experience, rework your resume to suit your new career. Craft your experience around transferable skills required for your new desired role. Highlight new education, certifications, and courses obtained that are related to your new field.

Revise Your LinkedIn

Lastly, revise your LinkedIn profile to make it searchable for terms that are relevant to your new field. Think to yourself: If a hiring manager was looking for a candidate to fill a role, what would they search for on LinkedIn?

Add those terms into your headline on LinkedIn. This will make it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find your profile, connect with you, and ultimately get you into roles you desire.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources

How to Create an In-House Tuition Program

Posted on 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

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

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.

Grants

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

How to Choose a Career and Find Your Calling

Posted on by Jamie Davis

Around 52% of students have “no idea” what they want to do with their career after graduation, according to one study. If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone.

Here’s what you can do to find your calling and choose a career, step-by-step.

Take a Career Quiz

A random Buzzfeed quiz likely won’t generate accurate results, but a professionally built and tested career assessment might. Organizations like Career Explorer, Princeton Review, and CareerOneStop have created formal career assessments packed with questions designed to help find a profession that suits your skills and interests.

CareerExplorer’s quiz takes around 30 minutes to complete. The first 9 minutes are for the personality assessment and reviewing your career and degree matches. The remaining 21 minutes are for reviewing the final results and insights.

Princeton Review’s quiz consists of 24 “would you rather?” style questions. In the end, it’ll ask a few final questions about who you are, such as:

CareerOneStop’s Interest Assessment consists of 30 questions, although it’ll only take you around 5 minutes to complete. As a partner of the U.S. Department of Labor, the quiz is a dynamic assessment of your likes and dislikes. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll receive a list of career matches and can explore them based on information such as:

And, if you’d prefer to complete it with pencil and paper, you can print the assessment.

Evaluate Them Based on Your Priorities

If you have a few fields that interest you, but you’re having trouble narrowing it down, try evaluating them based on your priorities. Create a list of what’s important to you in a career. This may include items like:

Then, rate each of the careers on a scale of 1-5 based on how well you think they match those priorities. This doesn’t have to be based on data; it can be strictly based on your personal opinion of the industry.

This will look something like this:

NurseTeacherEngineer
Positive Job Outlook555
High-Paying435
Ability to Work Remote124
Hands-On533
Good Work-Life Balance444
Control Over How You Work234
Impactful on Society554
Total262529

You may find that one career ranks significantly higher than the other, which could help you make an objective decision about which career to pursue.

Explore Career Clusters

If you’re interested in a specific industry but aren’t sure how to create a career from it, check out O*Net Online’s Career Clusters. Simply select the industry you’re interested in, then browse the list of occupations.

If one intrigues you, click on it and explore the list of tasks, skills, and experience the role requires to see if it’s a fit for you. You may find an occupation you’ve never heard of that is just the perfect fit.

Read Through Job Descriptions

Once you’ve found a job title that seems like a good fit, search for it on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster. Read the job descriptions carefully, and ask yourself questions like:

This will give you an idea of what the industry expectations truly are.

Network With People In Those Roles

To gain an even better understanding of what a field looks like, network with people currently working in it and ask for an informational interview. An informational interview allows you to go to the source to evaluate whether or not the career is a fit for you.

If you’re a student, utilize mentoring networks provided by your college or university. If that isn’t available, simply connect with people on LinkedIn and send them a message to request an interview.

In the interviews, ask meaningful questions you can’t find generic answers to online, like:

Remember, you’re asking for a chunk of their time in their schedule — make it a valuable, meaningful conversation.

Self-Reflect

Above all else, take time to self reflect. While online assessments are useful, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. Take time to reflect on what you love, what you’re passionate about, and why.  Only you know what feels fulfilling. 

The Next Step: Getting the EducationOnce you’ve found a career that suits you, it’s time to get the education necessary to land a job. Use sites like College Consensus to determine which degree is best for the career you’ve chosen. And when you’re ready to pay the bill, consider using Meratas to help cover it.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success, Career Resources

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

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
AdvantagesDisadvantages
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

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

A Thought Piece on Racial and Gender Differences in Income Share Agreement Repayment Patterns

Posted on April 29, 2022 by Darius Goldman

Jobs for the Future (JFF) drives the transformation of the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.

Findings from their report shine a light on the racial and gender differences in Income Share Agreement terms that can significantly impact how much students prepare for college.

The findings in Jobs for the Future’s report present opportunities as Income Share Agreements gain momentum. I think this report shows a bright future for Income Share Agreements and alternative financing and will help bring about a much-needed change to the student lending system.

Limitations of the report 

It’s important to note that the report outlines some caveats and limitations to their findings. They mention that additional research is needed.

Income share agreements (ISA) have garnered significant excitement as a new tool to finance postsecondary education.

Using a proprietary data set of ISA contract holder records, JFF analyzed differences in contract terms and repayment patterns across demographic groups, finding no consistent or significant favorability toward one racial/ethnic or gender group over another.


While this data set is far more granular and detailed than what has been used in past research, it still has limitations that require JFF to present its findings with significant caveats. They acknowledge that more research is needed,  such as better data about students’ prior income, the amount financed in the ISA, the length of the intensity of educational programs, and other characteristics. 

ISAs showed no significant favoritism towards any one group 

According to the report, ISAs appear to neither disproportionately advantage nor disadvantage any racial and gender groups. In addition, they tested the relationship between contract terms and education providers and differences between various student groups focusing on race/ethnicity and gender. 

“We did not find any consistent and significant relationships in contract terms or differences in student repayment patterns across racial/ethnic and gender categories that would imply a positive or negative impact on racial/ethnic and gender equity.”

JFF Report

This spells a positive and equitable future for ISAs and alternative financing. ISAs can be a great way to open access to those that are a part of marginalized groups and balance the risk and reward of higher education between schools and students. 

Quality Education Matters

While ISA program design and quality of education matter, this report from JFF indicates a very bright future for ISA recipients and alternative financing borrowers. 

If you’re interested in offering a fair and worthwhile Income Share Agreement at your institution, download our brochure on our partner’s page. 

Posted under: News and Updates, Income Share Agreements

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.