NEWTON, Mass., Mar 24, 2009 — For many families struggling with today’s economy, college tuition simply breaks the bank. Upromise, the largest private source of college funding contributions in America, is offering a creative opportunity for future, current and even recent graduates to win $10,000 toward a higher education. As part of its mission to help make a college education more attainable, Upromise is launching its Tuition Tales (www.tuition-tales.com) video contest on March 24, now known as Tuition Tuesday.
The contest comes at a time when college tuition has increased 439 percent during the last 25 years (1982-2007), according to the National Center for Public Policy & Higher Education. Even with President Obama’s upcoming education tax credit program, there is confusion and a lack of awareness about college tuition solutions, according to David Rochon, president of Upromise.
"Higher education is critical for building a better life and competing in a global economy, especially in challenging economic times," Rochon said. "Tuition Tales is another important way Upromise is helping Americans achieve their dream of a college education."
The video contest, which runs through May 3, encourages people to submit a 30-second video entry at www.tuition-tales.com. The videos will be judged on quality, fit to theme and creativity. One contestant in each of three categories – Saving for College, In College Now and Paying it Back – will win $10,000 for college education expenses. Those three winners and 9 finalists will win a $250 Bed Bath & Beyond(R: 27.3, 0, 0%) gift card and a $250 Bank of America(R: 27.3, 0, 0%) Visa(R: 27.3, 0, 0%) Gift Card.
The top 12 videos will be selected by a combination of online votes and a panel of judges. Once selected, all 12 finalists will be posted online and the public will vote (May 12 – 20) to determine which Tuition Tales video wins in each category. Contestants can submit entries on behalf of themselves, a family member or friend. Winners will be announced on May 20.
As part of the Tuition Tales launch, 75 disadvantaged inner city students, ages 5-14 years old, are building the world’s largest piggy bank as a symbol of the importance of saving for college. The students participate in afterschool programs conducted by LeAp, a non-profit New York City-based educational organization. Containing the student artists’ hopes for the future, the piggy bank which aims to be in The Guinness Book of World Records, will be 14 feet tall, 22.5 feet long, and six feet wide.
"We want all children to know they can achieve their dreams," said Ila Lane Gross, LeAp NYC executive director. "Our piggy bank symbolizes the importance of setting goals, staying in school and working hard."
Ellie Kay, a financial expert and mother who is putting her seven children through school debt free, said she believes there is a need for more programs like Tuition Tales.
"Parents should look for ways to save for college and control education costs even before children reach school age," said Kay, who also wrote the new book Living Rich for Less. "You can find money in traditional places, with loans and scholarships. But be sure not to overlook sources like Upromise which provide consumer rewards in the form of money for college."
Launched in April 2001, Upromise is the largest private source of college funding contributions in America, with more than 10 million members and $475 million in member rewards. Membership is free and can help families save money for college while making everyday purchases of products and services at more than 21,000 grocery and drug stores, 14,000 gas stations, 8,000 restaurants, as well as thousands of retail stores, and more than 600 online shopping sites Upromise also makes it easy for families to start their own college savings strategy through tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans offered through Upromise Investments, Inc. or by using Upromise contributions to help pay down eligible student loans. Upromise is a wholly owned subsidiary of SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM: 3.52, 0, 0%), commonly known as Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of saving-and-paying-for-college programs. Upromise is headquartered in Newton, Mass., and has more than 350 employees. For additional information, visit http://www.Upromise.com.
LeAp is a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of public education through a hands-on, arts-based approach to learning. LeAp understands the challenges that face today’s educators and continues to pioneer ways for all students to reach their full potential. Founded in 1977, LeAp’s unique educational approach uses cutting-edge programs, comprehensive materials and customized services to guarantee quality educational experiences for over 200,000 students a year. For additional information, visit http://www.leapnyc.org. (BUSINESS WIRE)