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TuitionFit: Bringing Transparency to Higher Education's Broken Marketplace



TuitionFit is one of four startup companies taking part in the first cohort of the Iowa EdTech Accelerator (IETA). This article is part of a series on the Spring 2020 IETA, a 14-week mentorship program.


Although higher education is one of the most expensive investments a family will ever make, with the current system they can’t shop by price. TuitionFit is changing that by helping bring real transparency into a broken marketplace.


How Does TuitionFit Help?

TuitionFit helps families across the United States save time, money, and stress finding the right college fit while also empowering the higher education marketplace to innovate and improve. Through crowdsourced financial aid award data from families, TuitionFit shows the actual prices that students pay so families can compare and find the colleges that fit their budget - with real leverage to negotiate.


“Kimberly and I have spent a long time in higher education and we had been watching the growing frustration among the public about college costs while at the same time watching the colleges actual prices - the amount that students who enroll actually pay - wasn't anywhere close to the sticker prices that get all of the angry press. So much of our other work was built on using data to solve problems, and the college pricing debacle seemed like a perfect opportunity to apply this same idea while empowering the public at the same time,” - Mark Salisbury, Co-Founder and CEO of TuitionFit.


How Has the Iowa EdTech Accelerator Helped?

With a program built upon an agile framework and access to an extensive mentor pool of experienced founders and industry experts, accelerator companies like TuitionFit have learned the essential skills they need in order to operate like a successful startup business.


“The Agile framework at the very beginning set the tone for a way that we will continue long after the accelerator ends. And we have learned a great deal about how to focus our efforts and identify the right metrics to determine if those efforts were successful. Additionally, our mentor conversations have been so full of valuable insights. It usually takes us another hour or so just to process everything that we discussed with them. One of the specific areas where the mentor meetings have been really helpful is in rethinking how we articulate our marketing messages,” said Salisbury.


What’s Next for TuitionFit?

Now, more than ever, access to transparent information regarding college prices is essential. TuitionFit is witnessing this need first hand. In the company’s first full admissions cycle, over 5,000 users have signed on to TuitionFit. In addition, some are paying for premium access to additional data, and college search professionals are already lining up to subscribe to additional features.


“We are really excited about what is next for us. We feel like we have so much more of a clear view of what lies ahead and what we need to do to ensure that it all comes together. I know it sounds trite, but I really don't want to think about what our path forward would have looked like had we not been able to participate in IETA,” said Salisbury.


Find out more about TuitionFit at their website.


The TuitionFit team is Mark Salisbury (Co-Founder and CEO), Kimberly Dyer (Co-Founder and COO), JP Dillingham (CTO), and Jason Wilebski (VP of College Partnerships).


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