Are you a parent looking to accumulate extra money towards your children's college education? Perhaps your kids have already graduated but have student loans to pay off. Maybe you're a grandparent with grandchildren already in college, on their way to college or they have student loans. If any of these describe you than Upromise is something you will want to know about.
Michael Bronner, a Boston area entrepreneur, created Upromise in 2001 with the idea of helping leverage the power of the internet and private business to help make access to college more affordable for the average family. Bronner’s vision stems from a desire to ensure that higher education is attainable for all American youth. So far, Upromise has more than 13 million subscribers and hundreds of business partners participating and sharing Bronner’s vision.
Although created primarily to help families save money for college and other educational expenses, a member can withdraw any accumulated funds they have saved to use any way they want.
One way to think of Upromise is like having a cash back bonus credit card except that cash back bonus cards only earn cash from purchases made with that card. With Upromise, members can earn contributions from purchases made from a variety of different credit cards or by making a purchase online through the Upromise website. Each time you make a purchase from an eligible partner, a portion of that purchase is deposited into your own registered Upromise account. Upromise partners, such as Century21 (which offers a bonus to anyone who buys or sells a home of up to $3,000) pay for the privilege to market their products and services to Upromise members. A nice feature of the program is that you can multiply your earnings by inviting family members and friends to join. There is no cost to join or participate in the program.
To use the account to fund college tuition, a member can designate any portion of the account for a specific child or grandchild. There is no limit as to the number of children who are designated and should one child no longer need the funds, the funds allocated to that child can be distributed in cash or re-allocated to another child.
Upromise has set up several different ways to redeem your earnings towards college expenses. One way is to transfer them into an eligible 529 college savings plan. Another way to use the funds is to make payments on a student loan. You can have contributions deposited in a high yield savings account covered by FDIC insurance or you can just request a check be sent and use any way you wish.
To earn up to $3,000 towards your Upromise account from Century21, a Century21 client (either buyer or seller) needs to register on the Upromise website prior to negotiating a contract to buy or sell. You can ask your Century21 agent for assistance in opening up the account or go directly to www.upromise.com and follow the instructions for registering. You don’t need to designate a recipient immediately, but you should be sure to give your user account name to your Century21 agent immediately so that you get credit for your purchase or sale. A completed Upromise certificate which is provided by the Century21 office must accompany the sales contract to closing for disbursement to your Upromise account.
For details on earning contributions from other companies and merchants, simply log into the Upromise website and you can search all of the deals that await you from other member partners. Another neat feature is that you can set up text and email alerts from Upromise whenever an extra bonus or special opportunity for earning extra funds comes about.
If you think about how much money you spend in a year on groceries, gasoline, clothes, toys and other items, Upromise contributions can really add up. And, with the cost of college and technical schools skyrocketing, every extra bit helps to make those costs a little more bearable. Check out the Upromise site and see how you can turn your ordinary spending into real tangible cash.