What are Tuition Rewards?
Through Tuition Rewards, SAGE bridges the gap between students who want a private college education but don't think they can afford one, and private colleges and 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, SAGE guarantees that the student will receive at least $30,000 in financial aid over four or five years!*
How can I earn Tuition Rewards?
In partnership with Delta Dental of Michigan, Delta Dental PPOTM network participating dentists and their staff may earn Tuition Rewards for every year they remain contracted with the PPO network. Dentists may earn 5,000 points per year, and each of their staff members may earn 3,000 points per year.
Please note that registration is REQUIRED to start earning points. To register, complete the following steps:
- Fill out the attached spreadsheet and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Look for an email from SAGE Scholars asking you to complete your registration. Follow the instructions in that email, and that’s it!
Why are Tuition Rewards only available to PPO participating dentists?
The agreement that Delta Dental of Michigan has with SAGE Scholars only applies to the PPO network dentists. As such, Tuition Rewards can only be earned by dentists contracted with the PPO network and their staff.
What are the program deadlines?
- Students must be in the Tuition Rewards program prior to August 31 of the year that the student begins 11th grade.**
- Students cannot earn or receive points after August 31 of the year that the student begins 12th grade.
- A student's sponsor (the Tuition Rewards account holder) MUST submit a high school senior’s rewards statement to any member school to which he or she applies within 10 days of the student's application to that school. This is accomplished by the sponsor (or student) logging in to his/her account at www.sagescholars.com.
How much does it cost to join?
There is no cost for providers and their staff to participate. This benefit is paid for by Delta Dental.
How much can I save off a participating college's tuition?
The maximum that schools are obligated to accept is 25 percent of the published price 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 applies, 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 in a sponsor's account (as shown on the account statement page) will never expire. Unused Tuition Rewards left allocated to a student (i.e., in a student's account) will expire on August 31 three years after the year of high school graduation. Unused rewards should be moved back to the sponsor's account prior to the expiration date.
Why are so many colleges joining the Tuition Rewards consortium?
That's easy — they want to attract more students, 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 percent of incoming freshmen graduate in four years — versus 67 percent 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. The SAGE Scholars 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, stepchildren, godchildren, and adopted children) to use your Tuition Rewards 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 whom you sponsor. We recommend that sponsors allocate points to the oldest child first; if he or she doesn't attend a participating 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 10 days of the student's actual application, sign in to your account, locate the student on your "My Students" 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 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. If an older beneficiary doesn't use his or her Tuition Rewards points, you may transfer the points that are not student-specific (for example, nonbonus 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 Rewards points, then you've 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 admissions standards still apply.
Can we still apply for other financial aid?
Absolutely! The purpose of the Tuition Rewards program is to ensure 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 or five years, a participating student will receive if and when he or she attends a participating school. If your student receives a scholarship or other institutional aid from a participating school, then the school can choose to blend (include) or stack (add on top) the Tuition Rewards with the other scholarship funds, grants or 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.
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.
Can I ever cash out my Tuition Rewards account?
No. Tuition Rewards are points and are never awarded in cash.
What happens if a dentist leaves the PPO network or a staff member leaves the employment of the practice?
You stop accumulating Tuition Reward points, but the points that you've already earned are yours to use.
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 SAGE offers 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 fifth grade, and the college he or she wants to attend doesn't join Tuition Rewards until my child is in 12th grade, will I still receive my total reward from fifth grade on?
Yes! That's the beauty of Tuition Rewards — as more colleges join, Tuition Rewards 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 to 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 email from the participating colleges and universities after they begin high school. SAGE does not share your (the Sponsor) 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 55,290 points. For most schools, the maximum obligation is based on the current published freshman year tuition.
** Some programs may have a later deadline to add a student. Please refer to the program documentation or your welcome email for details.