La Salle, Oglethorpe, RIT and Unity College Join Tuition Rewards Enrollment Consortium

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La Salle University (Philadelphia, PA), Oglethorpe University (Atlanta, GA), Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY) and Unity College (Unity, ME) have joined Tuition Rewards®, a nationwide college enrollment consortium. The unique program rewards families for saving for higher education with points that can be used to reduce tuition costs at 280+ diverse private colleges & universities in 45 states. The SAGE Scholars-sponsored program helps private colleges with student recruiting and encourages families to save for college.

Continuing its national expansion, the Tuition Rewards® private college & university enrollment marketing consortium has added four new schools – La Salle University (Philadelphia), Oglethorpe University (Atlanta), Rochester Institute of Technology and Unity College (Maine).

283 U.S. private colleges & universities now participate in Tuition Rewards, a unique program developed by SAGE Scholars that rewards families for saving for college. Member colleges benefit by the ability to market to the 200,000+ participating students (once they reach 9th grade). Member institutions have found the demographics – students from families indicating interest in attending a private college and saving for college – attractive.

“This is great news for our families,” said Dr. James Johnston, SAGE CEO and founder. “Our newest colleges provide additional outstanding opportunities for our families and students, both geographically and in terms of career interests, whether it be the arts, business, engineering or science.”

La Salle University, the 72nd Catholic and 50th Pennsylvania college to join Tuition Rewards, offers its 3,300 full-time undergraduates a concentration in 60 academic areas. Nursing, communication, education, accounting and psychology are the largest student majors. Cutting-edge programs include Digital Arts and Multimedia Design, Speech-Language-Hearing Science and Fraud and Forensic Accounting. Founded in 1863, La Salle boasts a 96% medical school admission rate.

La Salle’s 130-acre, 54-building main campus in Northwest Philadelphia is in a park-like setting approximately six miles from Center City. The University also operates satellite campuses in suburban Bucks and Montgomery counties. Guided by more than 350 years of the Christian Brothers’ academic tradition, La Salle competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 22 NCAA Division I sports. Students contribute more than 35,000 hours of community service annually. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected the University for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification.
Oglethorpe University, one of the South’s leading liberal arts universities, enrolls 1,100 students from 34 states and 28 countries. Located near Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, Oglethorpe offers more than 28 majors and signature programs, including Urban Ecology, the Rich Urban Leadership Program, the Honors Program and a unique partnership with Georgia Shakespeare, a professional theatre-in-residence.

Named after James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia and a great civic leader, the University is grounded in public purpose. The Oglethorpe education integrates service learning, student internships, urban field study, civic leadership and cultural study trips around the country and the globe. Students are nurtured to become talented and motivated graduates prepared to “make a life, make a living, and make a difference.”

Rochester Institute of Technology, the 20th and largest New York member of the Tuition Rewards consortium, is a vibrant, connected community that is home to more than 13,500 diverse, ambitious and creative undergraduate students from over 100 countries. RIT offers an incredible array of academic programs that attract designers, artists, photographers and filmmakers on one hand -- and, scientists, engineers, computing scientists and entrepreneurs on the other. When these "left-brain and right-brain" students engage with outstanding faculty, a learning environment is created where innovation and creativity flourish.

Since 1912, the hallmark of an RIT education has been experiential learning. RIT was among the first universities in the world to offer cooperative education. Last year, more than 3,500 co-op students alternated periods of study on campus with paid employment in nearly 2,000 firms across the United States and overseas. RIT attracts 1,500+ international undergraduates. Embodying its commitment to diversity, more than 2,000 students of color have elected to study at RIT. Adding a unique social and educational dynamic, more than 1,300 deaf and hard-of-hearing students are supported by RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Unity College, a leader in the environmental movement, is focused on sustainability in the classroom and in the real world. Its friendly campus community is full of active learners an an outdoor-loving faculty that collaborates in creating adventures to help its 550 students grow personally and professionally.

Unity’s dedicated faculty members administer immersion semesters at Outward Bound School, collaborate with students on research presented at national conferences, create demonstrations of on-campus renewable energy options, restructure the organic chemistry labs to reduce toxic waste, and direct an environmental writing retreat that attracts participants from across the country. Located on 225 wooded acres of farmland overlooking Unity Pond in the village of Unity, the state of Maine serves as a hands-on learning laboratory.

Numerous nationally-known colleges are members of the Tuition Rewards consortium, including Clark University, Clarkson University, Creighton University, DePaul University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, Fairleigh-Dickinson University, Lawrence University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, St. Lawrence University, Susquehanna University, University of San Diego, Washington & Jefferson College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Drexel University (143 applications) and Duquesne University (74) were the most popular choices of the SAGE students who entered college in August 2011. In the last 12 months, participating high school seniors were offered more than $14 million in Tuition Rewards scholarships, which are given by member colleges as discounts off full tuition.

“As attested by its level of growth, the SAGE Scholars Program has proven to be an effective way to make private colleges affordable,” said Dr. Allen P. Splete, former President of the Council of Independent Colleges and a SAGE Advisory Council member.

Neither consortium colleges nor the participating families pay to join. Financial organizations that use Tuition Rewards as a value-added benefit pay a fee to cover administrative and marketing costs. Colleges absorb the scholarships, which are capped at one full year’s tuition, as a marketing cost to effectively reach out to a wider student audience than individual colleges could on their own.
"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. Johnston, the former Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at The Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Johnston predicts that Tuition Rewards will grow to 500,000 enrolled students and 400 colleges within three years. Johnston believes that SAGE performs an important public policy function: “With the current economic climate and the resulting pressures put on higher education by state budget cutbacks, Tuition Rewards has become an important incentive to motivate families to take responsibility for planning and saving for higher education.”

The SAGE message to participating families is that private higher education may indeed be “within reach” -- and not only because of generous financial aid packages available. SAGE stresses to families the greater likelihood of graduating in four years at a private college.

"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," noted Dr. Johnston.

About SAGE Scholars:
Founded in 1995, SAGE Scholars promotes private higher education and its member colleges to the 200,000+ enrolled students and their families via its website, email and a weekly e-newsletter. Member colleges may contact students once they reach 9th grade at no charge. Tuition Rewards is the nation's largest private college savings program based on participating students and value of eligible assets. For more information, contact Dr. James B. Johnston, 215-564-9930. For a full list of participating colleges, visit our website.


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