Rollins College Becomes 5th Florida Member of Tuition Rewards College Enrollment Consortium

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Rollins College (Winter Park, FL) has joined Tuition Rewards, a nationwide consortium of 250+ private colleges & universities in 41 states. The unique program rewards families for saving for higher education with points that can be used to reduce tuition costs. 59 colleges have joined Tuition Rewards since March, 2008. 175,000+ students are enrolled in the SAGE Scholars-sponsored program, which encourages families to save for college and helps member colleges recruit students.

There's no downside for a college to join. It doesn't cost a college anything, and most will gain additional, well-qualified students

Rollins College, ranked as the top academic college in Florida and the top regional university in the South by U.S. News & World Report, has become the 5th Florida member of the Tuition Rewards private college & university enrollment marketing consortium.

A private, residential liberal arts college located on the outskirts of Orlando, Rollins (Winter Park, FL) occupies a 70-acre lakeside campus characterized by traditional Spanish-Mediterranean architecture. Every aspect of a Rollins College education encourages greater connections to people, ideas and community.

In the classroom and beyond, Rollins professors challenge students to broaden their interests, deepen their talents and prepare themselves for graduate school and life. Rollins' College of Arts & Sciences offers 1,775 undergraduates a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 and an innovative curriculum featuring 29 majors, 39 minors and pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and law.

Rollins' distinctive educational experience includes opportunities for global learning, service, leadership, and student-faculty collaborative research. Rollins also offers undergraduate evening classes and six master's-degree programs, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program ranked #1 in Florida by Forbes Magazine and other top publications.

More than 250 U.S. private colleges & universities now participate in Tuition Rewards, a unique college savings program developed by SAGE Scholars that rewards families for saving for college with tuition discounts at participating four-year private colleges and universities.

Participating families earn Tuition Reward Points, similar to frequent flyer miles, by saving for college with a variety of financial partners, including the Pennsylvania & Wisconsin state 529 college savings programs, The College Tuition Benefit, First Midwest Bank, credit unions and national marketing organizations.

When registered students attend a participating private college, the family's accumulated Tuition Reward Points are redeemed as a scholarship - a non-need based grant or discount - capped at one full year's tuition spread evenly over four years (or as negotiated). Participating colleges benefit by gaining the ability to market to the 175,000+ participating students once they reach 9th grade. Member colleges have found the demographics - students from families actually saving for college and who have indicated interest in attending a private college - to be attractive.

The Tuition Rewards consortium membership now includes the #1-ranked regional university in the Midwest -- Creighton University (NE) -- as well as the South, according to "America's Best Colleges, 2010" from U.S. News & World Report. The publication also cited Taylor University (IN) as the Midwest's #1 "Liberal Arts College". Wagner College (NY) and Adrian College (MI) are rated #1 as the "Best Up & Coming Colleges" among master's universities in the North and baccalaureate colleges in the Midwest, respectively.

The Tuition Rewards consortium has added 59 new colleges in the past 28 months, attracting 16 new members in 2010. In addition to Rollins, new members include Brevard College (NC), Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN), Concordia University Chicago (IL), Eastern Nazarene College (MA), Elmhurst College (IL), Lourdes College (OH), Mount Saint Mary's University (MD), North Central College (IL), Olivet Nazarene University (IL), Prescott College (AZ), Salve Regina University (RI), Susquehanna University (PA), University of San Diego (CA), Valley Forge Christian College (PA) and Westminster College (UT).

"There's no downside for a college to join. It doesn't cost a college anything, and most will gain additional, well-qualified students," declared Dr. James B. Johnston, chairman and CEO of SAGE Scholars. "By providing both financial incentives and unbiased information to families, in a collective fashion, we can encourage them to sensibly plan and invest for their children's, or grandchildren's future. With more than 175,000 students now enrolled and with the sort of magic sound of '250' colleges, I think we've made a nice step toward that goal."

Of participating high school seniors graduating in June 2010, Drexel University (95 applications) and Duquesne University (69 applications) were the most popular choices. Total enrollment in Tuition Rewards has surpassed 175,000 students; the consortium's "class" of high school seniors will expand by 18% in 2011. Dr. Johnston outlined four key goals for SAGE Scholars and the Tuition Rewards consortium over the next few years:

1. Increasing Our Student Enrollment Base: "175,000 students is a nice number, but 500,000 would be better!"
2. Intergenerational Funding: "A few years ago, an AARP study found that over 50% of grandparents were helping, or intended to help, finance their grandchildren's education. I often make the not-original statement that grandparents want three things in life: 'A financially-secure retirement; heaven when they die; and, a legacy for their grandchildren.' We're focused on helping grandparents provide the legacy."
3. Creative Ways to Provide College Funding: "Reverse mortgages, cash-value life insurance and guaranteed return investments are all potential college funding instruments. We are educating families about the positive and possible negative consequences of these and other alternatives.
4. SELF (School Enabled Lending Fund): "We are partnering with National Education, a highly-regarded student loan company, to encourage SAGE member colleges to offer a hybrid 'loan-discount' plan." The product is especially relevant to helping students, whose families suffer financial setbacks during the college years, remain in school and graduate on time.

The SAGE message to participating families is that private higher education is considerably more affordable than most people believe -- and not only because of generous financial aid packages available. The greater likelihood of graduating in four years at a private college -- versus remaining on the "bank of mom & dad" during a fifth or sixth year of college at a state institution - is unknown to many families. Research conducted at UCLA has shown that the graduation rate from four-year private universities is 67% -- versus 28% from public universities.

"In many cases, the four-year graduation rate at a private institution is very similar to the six-year graduation rate at a comparable public institution that a student may be considering," Dr. Johnston said.

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