Managing college expenses is a challenge for most students and parents, and saving for college early can reduce the need for student loans and other sources of financial aid. Still, there are other ways to build up a college savings account with the help of Upromise, a rewards network that helps you save and pay for college by earning cashback on everyday purchases. If you're trying to build an account for current or future college expenses, Upromise offers a number of benefits for both parents and college students.

How Upromise Works

The Upromise program is free to join, and collects points on purchases made at over 40,000 participating retail stores and services across the country. Every time you buy gasoline, new clothes, or even shop online with a participating retailer, you earn cash back on your purchase, and can set these earnings aside for college savings in a separate account or a 529 plan.

A few ways to earn rewards with Upromise include:

  • Booking hotel reservations
  • Dining at participating restaurants in the Upromise network
  • Earning cash back for shopping online
  • Buying specific brands of food and grocery items

Some of the larger Upromise partners include:

  • American Express
  • Capital One Auto Finance
  • Century 21
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Amazon.com
  • JCPenney.com
  • * Gap.com
  • Dell
  • Overstock.com

and thousands more

Whether you're purchasing a big screen television or shopping for a new car, making your purchase with any participating retailer will help you earn extra cash on every purchase.

Building a College Savings Account with Upromise

After you complete a Upromise application, you will be enrolled in a college savings plan that allows you to collect rewards on every qualified purchase you make. There are ways to increase your rewards by inviting friends and family members to join your team, and this can help you increase the rate of your savings account in a very short period of time.

The 529 plan is the official college savings program offered by Upromise Investments; the 529 plan allows you to build an account that's free of federal and state income taxes, and all of your Upromise rewards can be sent straight to this account. This is an investment account that can help you protect your savings from tax payments for years to come, and can be started for just $50 per month. These funds can be used at any accredited college, and may even be eligible for estate and gift tax incentives. 529 plans are managed by Vanguard, and you can potentially earn 29% more with a 529 than other standard investment accounts available through your bank.

Other Options with Upromise

If you do earn more than you need through the Upromise rewards program, the funds can also be used to support school programs that may need your help. Hundreds of colleges and schools need funding and gifts to support important programs, and Upromise funds can be used as a donation.

Upromise offers several benefits for families and students and is completely free to join. Whether you choose to open a 529 account or collect points for a local school program, it's easy to enjoy extra benefits from your day-to-day expenses.

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