Tuition Rewards by SAGE Scholars

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Tuition Rewards?
Through Tuition Rewards we bridge the gap between students that want a private college education, but don't think they can afford one, and private colleges / universities that offer guaranteed tuition discounts.

A student's Tuition Rewards Points represent the guaranteed minimum amount of institutional financial aid (i.e. scholarships and/or institutional grants) that a participating college will award to the student. The student may receive more financial aid than the rewards points represent, but he or she will not receive less! For example, if you redeem 30,000 points for a student, we guarantee that the student will receive at least $30,000 in financial aid over four or five years!*
How can I earn Tuition Rewards?
You earn Tuition Reward Points through any participating organization, such as:
  • Saving or investing with the Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Plan
  • Saving or investing with a participating bank or credit union
  • Through over 80,000 employers through employer provided health care plans, voluntary benefits participation or Tuition Rewards on qualified retirement plans
  • By purchasing cash-value life insurance through a participating organization
  • By maintaining membership in affiliated fraternal organizations
  • By working with an affiliated financial professional (individual or organization) who provides asset management, qualified product sales, annual financial reviews, seminars or workshops
  • Having a college funding plan created by an affiliated organization or individual
What are the program deadlines?
  1. Students must be registered in the Tuition Rewards program prior to August 31st of the year that the student begins 12th grade
  2. Students cannot earn, or receive points after August 31st of the year that the student begins 12th grade
  3. A student's Tuition Rewards statement must be electronically submitted to any member college that the student applies to within ten (10) days of the student's application to that college
How much does it cost to join?
Nothing! Tuition Rewards is always free for families and students.
How much can I save off a participating college's tuition?
The maximum that schools are obligated to accept is 25% of the cost of tuition (based on freshman year tuition), spread equally over four, or five, years of undergraduate education. For example, if the "list price" of tuition for a school is $40,000 per year when your student matriculates, this means that your guaranteed minimum discount would be up to $10,000 per year (providing that you submitted at least 40,000 points to the school). These amounts are taken from the published list prices as shown in the Higher Education Directory each year. One point equals one dollar in tuition discounts.
Will my Tuition Rewards ever expire?
Tuition Rewards, whether in a sponsor's account, or a student's account, do not expire.
Why are so many colleges joining the Tuition Rewards consortium?
That's easy -- they want to attract more students, or better students, or both. And, they're eager to attract qualified students who might not be familiar with their college. Our colleges understand that they need to remain affordable, and they're eager to reward families who are truly interested in a private college.
We can't afford a private college. Why should my family participate?
Did you know that at public universities, according to a UCLA study, only 28% of incoming freshmen graduate in four years - versus 67% of freshmen at private universities? The percentage of students who graduate in four years at a private college is the same as the percentage who graduate in six years at a state college. An earlier graduation means less tuition spent, and the student can begin to repay any loans sooner - which means less accrued interest. Add to that the increased financial aid available at private colleges and private colleges are less expensive than you realize - and our program makes attending a private college even more affordable.
Who can I "sponsor" in the Tuition Rewards Program to use the points I earn?
You can sign up children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other family members (including great/grand relations, step, God, and adopted children) to use your Tuition Reward Points. You cannot sponsor students such as your neighbor's or co-worker's children where there is no family relationship.
Do I have to allocate Tuition Rewards to my students equally?
No, it is up to you to decide how you want to give your Tuition Rewards to the students you sponsor. We recommend that sponsors allocate Points to the oldest child first; if he or she doesn't attend a member college, transfer the Points to the next-oldest child in your family.
When one of my students applies to a participating school, what do I need to do?
Within ten (10) days of the student's application, log in to your account, locate the student on your page and follow the link to submit his or her rewards. Do not submit a student's rewards weeks or months late or early. Please submit rewards only to schools that the student has actually applied to.
Can I give my Tuition Reward Points to my church / school / employer / another family?
Tuition Rewards can only be used by the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews whom you sponsor in the program. If an older beneficiary doesn't use his or her Tuition Reward points, you may transfer the points that are not student-specific (for example, non-bonus points) to a younger enrolled student. You cannot give unused Tuition Rewards to another parent or organization.
What if I can't use the Tuition Rewards?
If you don't use your Tuition Reward Points, then you've still lost nothing; Tuition Rewards is a free program for families.
Is participation in SAGE a guarantee of admission into participating colleges?
No, each school's normal admission's standards still apply.
Can we still apply for other financial aid?
Absolutely! The purpose of the Tuition Rewards Program is to insure that the student(s) you've sponsored will receive a scholarship at least equal to the size of his/her Tuition Rewards. He or she may receive more aid, but cannot receive less!
What if my student receives a merit scholarship? How will this affect the Tuition Rewards?
Tuition Rewards represent the minimum scholarship, spread evenly over four years, a participating student will receive if and when he/she attends a participating school. If your student receives a scholarship or other institutional aid from a member school, then the school can choose to "blend" (include) or "stack" (add on top) the Tuition Rewards with the other scholarship funds, grants or other discounts.
Are Tuition Rewards applicable to fees, room, board, books, etc?
No, just tuition.
Can Tuition Rewards be used for graduate school, summer school, evening classes, or part-time classes?
No, Tuition Rewards can only be used for full-time, undergraduate education beginning with the freshman year at a participating private college or university. Unless specifically listed as an alternate campus on the website, Participating Colleges are only obligated to honor submitted Tuition Rewards points for students enrolled at the Participating College's main campus.
Can Tuition Rewards be used if my child transfers to a member college or university?
It's up to the school that he or she is transferring to. While there is no contractual obligation to the Tuition Rewards Program that would require that the school honor the rewards, most schools are willing to honor at least a portion of the rewards.
Must the identified assets, if any, actually be used for my child's college expenses?
No. Funds used to earn Tuition Rewards do not need to be used to pay for college. It's always your choice how you finance your child's, grandchild's, or other family member's sponsored student's education.
Can I ever "cash out" my Tuition Rewards account?
No. Tuition Rewards are Points and are never awarded in cash.
What happens if I sell my eligible investments?
You stop accumulating Tuition Reward Points, but the points that you've already earned are yours to use, unless the provider that you earned your Tuition Rewards with stipulates otherwise.
I don't see any colleges of interest. My child is in 9th grade. Why should I participate?
  • By the time your child is ready to apply to college, additional schools of interest are likely to join.
  • It costs you nothing to participate in the program, regardless of where your child goes to college.
  • After doing research, you may find that we offer many appealing choices. Or, you may have another child - or niece, nephew or grandchild -- who could benefit in the future.
If I join Tuition Rewards now, while my child is in 5th grade, and the college he/she wants to attend doesn't join Tuition Rewards until my child is in 12th grade, will I still receive my total reward, from 5th grade on?
Yes! That's the beauty of Tuition Rewards -- as more colleges join, Tuition Reward Points are applied to these schools, too -- and, you have more choices!
What happens if a college joins that my student has already applied to, or has matriculated to?
If a student applies to, is accepted by, or has already matriculated at a college that is not participating in this program -- but subsequently decides to participate -- the college is under no obligation to honor his or her Tuition Rewards.
Is the tuition reduction taxable?
We are not tax attorneys; however, IRS Publication 970, "Tax Benefits for Education", states clearly, "You do not have to include a qualified tuition reduction in your income." Tuition Rewards meets the qualified tuition reduction definition.
This sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?
There is no catch. Member colleges are encouraged to recruit the students whom you sponsor once the student is in high school. Your students are likely to receive some print mail or e-mail from the participating colleges and universities after they begin high school. We do not share your, the Sponsor's, information with any schools or other third parties.
* Some schools may accept less than 30,000 points. This is an example only. The current maximum that any one school will accept is 61,190 points. For most schools the maximum obligation is based on the current published freshman year tuition.