Funding College Education — How Upromise Can Help (By Mary Elizabeth Davis)

Many parents are faced with the challenge of sending their children to college while in the middle of a divorce. In Virginia, neither parent can be financially required by the courts to pay for college unless college costs were agreed upon in a separation agreement or other document. This frustrates many parents, who feel that they are "going it alone" in supporting their children through college.

Upromise is a free service that can help. It can fund a 529 account for a student or for yourself. It can even repay student loans for select lenders.

Register for Upromise at www.upromise.com, and register each of your credit card and debit cards. When you make purchases at participating retailers, online merchants or restaurants, a percentage of your transaction will be placed into your account. Upromise partners also include mortgage companies, auto finance companies, phone companies, and other service providers. Your account balance will be transferred quarterly into the 529 account or transferred to pay an existing student loan.

Bank of America has a Upromise credit card. A 1% rebate for all purchases you make is placed into your Upromise account. You do not have to have the Upromise credit card to participate in Upromise, though. (Bank of America is assuming the Upromise credit card program as of March 2009. It was formerly run by Citibank.)

The Upromise service is free and it provides rebates on purchases you would otherwise be making. Friends and family may also be invited to help save for your college student by linking their credit and debit card purchases to your Upromise account.

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