Fisk University Joins Tuition Rewards® College Enrollment Consortium

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Fisk University (Nashville, TN) has joined Tuition Rewards®, a nationwide enrollment consortium of 310+ private colleges and universities in 45 states. The unique program, sponsored by SAGE Scholars, rewards families for saving for higher education with points that can be used to reduce tuition costs at member colleges and helps colleges recruit qualified students.

Fisk University, the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, has joined the SAGE Scholars Tuition Rewards® Private College & University Enrollment Consortium. A national attraction for talented students since 1866, Fisk is ranked in Tier One in Forbes Magazine’s 2014 list of “650 Top Colleges” and is the nation’s highest-ranked historically black college/university.

Fisk is the 9th Tennessee independent college and 6th historically black college and to participate in Tuition Rewards.

“We are delighted to have Fisk as a member our consortium of colleges,” declared Dr. James B. Johnston, SAGE Chairman & CEO. “Fisk represents another example of our continued growth. We are happy to provide such a wonderful option for our participating families.”

The dreams of great leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois, great poets like Nikki Giovanni and great historians like John Hope Franklin are alive at Fisk. They were students at Fisk before they achieved enormous status and changed the world. Only one year after the Civil War came to an end, three enterprising missionaries founded the Fisk Free Colored School in Nashville (TN). Their first students were inextricably bound by the tireless struggle for equality and shared an unquenchable thirst for learning.

157 years later, Fisk has graduated more African Americans who have earned PhDs in the natural sciences than any other U.S. college. 61% of Fisk students enter graduate or professional school within one year of graduation, well above the national average (23%). Biology is the most popular major, followed by business, psychology, physics and chemistry. A Master’s-to-Ph.D. “bridge program” in physics, astronomy and materials science is offered in conjunction with nearby Vanderbilt University. Other innovative partnership options allow students to pursue degrees in engineering, pharmacy, medicine as well as art, design & film.

Fisk's vibrant campus life helps students develop leadership skills, character and discipline. With nearly 30 bachelor degree programs, over 60 student organizations, internships, student exchange, independent study, distance learning and research opportunities available, it’s no wonder that students have been drawn to Fisk for almost 150 years!

The SAGE Scholars-sponsored program encourages families to save for college and helps member colleges recruit students. Students enroll in Tuition Rewards through family affiliations with participating financial institutions and employers or through an affiliated scholarship program; students earn rewards points that can be redeemed for guaranteed minimum tuition discounts at participating colleges. The colleges benefit by the ability to market to the 280,000+ participating students (once they reach 9th grade). Member colleges find the demographics attractive – students from families who are saving for college and who have expressed interest in attending a private college.

June 2013 high school graduates submitted Tuition Rewards points valued at $27.2 million to the consortium’s 300+ member colleges. Drexel University (214 submissions) and Duquesne University (108) were the most popular choices. Regional leaders included DePaul University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Dayton, University of San Diego, University of Tampa and Valparaiso University.

“The fact that the number of enrolled students now exceeds 280,000 affirms our belief that parents and grandparents, if they truly understood the unique value of private education, could give their children and grandchildren the most precious of all gifts -- a quality education,” said Dr. Johnston, SAGE’s founder. “It is apparent that our value to member colleges increases as we enroll more students in our free, searchable database. We intend to do this by dramatically increasing our marketing outreach, both in the U.S. and abroad.”

39,893 new students joined Tuition Rewards in 2012. Neither students nor colleges pay a fee to join. Financial organizations use Tuition Rewards as a value-added benefit, paying 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 be able to effectively reach out to a wider student audience than an individual college could on its own.

16 new colleges have joined the SAGE consortium in 2013, with Baldwin Wallace University (OH), Bethany College (KS), Hampden-Sydney College (VA), Oklahoma Christian University, Point University (GA), School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA), Southwestern University (TX) and St. Bonaventure University (NY) among the new members in the past three months.

Other participating colleges in Tennessee are Cumberland University, Johnson University, Lincoln Memorial University, Tennessee Wesleyan College, Trevecca Nazarene University, Tusculum College, Union University and Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.

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

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Robert Savett