What are Tuition Rewards?

Think of Tuition Rewards Points as "frequent flyer miles" for college tuition. However, instead of earning Tuition Rewards by flying, you earn them by taking care of your everyday banking needs.

How do members earn Tuition Rewards Points?

You earn Tuition Rewards Points based on your deposit relationships. You will receive Tuition Rewards off your eligible deposits. These are calculated at 1.25% per quarter using an average daily balance, equaling 5%. For example, if you have $25,000 saved, then at the end of the year, assuming no change in asset value, you will receive 1,250 Tuition Rewards points. After you have created your account, reporting information specific to PFCU is shown on your account home page in the section titled "Tuition Rewards Reporting Information". Typically, Tuition Rewards are earned by the sponsor (the parent, grandparent, etc.) and accrued in the sponsor's account. The sponsor must, by August 31st between a student's junior and senior years in high school, transfer (assign) some or all Tuition Rewards Points to a listed student for those points to be available for use.

What are eligible deposits?

All share accounts are eligible, including all Savings and Checking products, Money Market, Savings Certificates, Health Savings, CU Succeed and Moola Moola accounts.

How do I use Tuition Rewards Points?

You can use Tuition Rewards Points when and if the students you sponsor in the Tuition Rewards Program attend one of the participating colleges or universities. A Tuition Rewards Statement must be submitted electronically to a member school at the time of a student's application to the school. Tuition Rewards Points represent the minimum scholarship that a student will receive from a member school.

What deadlines do I need to be aware of?

There are three important deadlines:

  • Adding students to SAGE
  • Allocating rewards to students
  • Submitting Tuition Rewards statements to member schools

Who can I sponsor in the Tuition Rewards Program to use the Points I earn?

You can sponsor children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other family members (including godchildren) to use your Tuition Rewards Points.

Is there a cutoff date for sponsoring a student?

Yes. All students must be sponsored in the Tuition Rewards Program prior to August 31 of the year that the student begins 11th grade. The reason for the cutoff is that participating schools are given at least two years to recruit each student in the program.

At what age is a child eligible for sponsorship?

Eligibility begins at birth.

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. You simply must allocate Tuition Rewards to a student by August 31 one year prior to high school graduation (typically between the student's junior and senior years in high school).

When one of the students applies to a participating school, how and when do I notify the school about the Tuition Rewards?

You need to submit a statement of their student's Tuition Rewards at the time of the student's application to any participating school. You can do this by logging onto Teller Net through pfcu.com and clicking on the "Account Statement" page under the Tuition Rewards link.

What if I don't use the Tuition Rewards? Can I give my Tuition Rewards 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. You cannot give unused Tuition Rewards to another parent or organization. Even if you don't use your Tuition Rewards Points you haven't lost anything - Tuition Rewards is a free program for families.

What does it cost to participate?

The Tuition Rewards Program is a free program for families.

Is participation in SAGE a guarantee of admission into participating colleges?

No, each schools normal admission's standards still apply.

Can the designated child still apply for financial aid?

Yes. The purpose of the Tuition Rewards Program is to insure that the student(s) sponsored will receive a scholarship at least equal to the size of his/her Tuition Rewards.

What if a student receives a merit scholarship? How will this affect the Tuition Rewards Scholarship?

Tuition Rewards represent the minimum scholarship, spread evenly over four years, a student will receive if and when he/she attends a participating school. If a student receives another scholarship from a SAGE member school, then the school can choose to "blend" (make one and the same) or "stack" (add on top) the Tuition Rewards with the other scholarship.

What's the maximum amount of Tuition Rewards that a student can use?

The amount of Tuition Rewards that a school accepts varies from school to school. However, the most Tuition Rewards that a student can use would be up to one full year's tuition. To see the amount of Tuition Rewards that each school will accept, you must first sign in to your account.

Why would colleges accept less than full tuition?

Historically, colleges began offering financial aid on a need-only basis. But lately, as college costs have soared, financially-squeezed families have been asked to contribute more and more, tapping hard-earned assets and taking educational loans. Many schools now use financial aid as a method to attract quality students from middle and higher-income families. This aid is being offered as tuition reductions -- that is, aid not based strictly on financial need. Knowing this, SAGE has negotiated with member colleges to automatically present a financial reward to families who save for college.

Why are so many colleges signing up?

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. Colleges know that the direct costs (professors, teaching materials, etc.) for additional students are less than the full tuition for those students. So, by guaranteeing you a discount off of tuition based on the dollars you've saved - as long as colleges cover their direct costs - they come out ahead. The participating colleges understand that they need to remain affordable, and they're eager to reward families who are truly saving for college.

Are Tuition Rewards applicable to room, board, books, etc?

No, just tuition.

Can Tuition Rewards be used for Graduate School?

No, Tuition Rewards can only be used for full-time, undergraduate education.

Must the identified assets (hard dollars) actually be used for a 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 to finance their child's (or grandchild's) education.

Can I ever "cash out" their Tuition Rewards account?

No. Tuition Rewards are Points, and are never awarded in cash.

What happens if I sell eligible investments?

They stop accumulating Tuition Rewards, but the points that they've already earned are theirs to use.

What if I don't see any schools on the list in which my children want to apply?

Two reasons: First, by the time the child is ready to apply to college, additional schools of interest are very likely to be part of the program. Second, it doesn't cost you anything to participate in the Tuition Rewards Program, regardless of where the child goes to college.

If I join SAGE now, while my child is in 9th grade, and the college he/she wants to attend doesn't join SAGE until he/she is in 12th grade, will he/she still receive the total reward, from 9th grade on?

Yes. As more colleges join, the tuition reward is applied to these schools too.

Is the tuition reduction taxable?

No. That's because with a scholarship or other form of reduced tuition, you are not receiving money. They're paying less for college.

What's the catch?

The catch is that SAGE member schools get to recruit the sponsored students once the students enter 9th grade. So, your children will get mail from the participating colleges and universities once they begin high school.

How do I enroll?

Log onto Teller Net through pfcu.com and click on the Tuition Rewards link.


"I am a Philadelphia based blogger and a busy mom. I like to share ways to get the most amount of fun in your day, no matter what things you have going on. Money and debt planning are very important, whether it is so you can travel more, have more adventures with the kids, or just to feel less stressed. Having a PFCU financial expert answering my questions and helping to guide me through these issues was extremely helpful."

DEBI - OurWabisabiLife.com

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