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Upromise urges parents to save for college, offers $150G sweepstakes

Upromise has launched a “Make the Pledge, Keep the Promise” college savings initiative, and Academy Award-winning actress and Harvard graduate Mira Sorvino helped with the campaign’s recent kickoff in Manhattan.

Education is the great equalizer, says Sorvino, best known for her role as Romy White in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” and for her Academy Award performance for “Mighty Aprhodite.” She most recently stars in “Trade of Innocents,” about a couple that tries to rescue young girls sold into the sex slave trade.

“Families can move from a difficult life to empowerment in one generation,” Sorvino says. One of her grandfathers emigrated from Naples when he was 4 years old and was a manual laborer. But his son -- Sorvino’s uncle – went to medical school.

To encourage parents to start or continue saving for their kids’ future schooling, Upromise is running a sweepstakes.

From now to Nov. 13, old and new members who visit and pledge to save for their kids’ future schooling will be entered in a sweepstakes to win $150,000 toward their child’s college education, says John Ward, Upromise senior vice president. There will also be weekly drawings for $500 giftcards.

Upromise is a cash-back program that rewards users for purchases. After signing up for Upromise and then shopping with a Upromise credit card or through, users earn dollars they can then transfer into a college savings account for their children’s educations. Buyers can collect 5 percent back from online partners when they visit the sites by first logging into Upromise; if they use a Upromise credit card, they will get an additional 5 percent on top of that for a total of 10 percent back, Ward says.  When using a Upromise credit card at a bricks-and-mortar store, users get 5 percent back as well.

Since 2001, Upromise members have received more than $700 million in cash for college; the program’s goal is to soon reach $1 billion.

Sorvino – whose degree, incidentally, is in East Asian studies – has four children that she expects will cost a “pretty penny” to put through college. That’s why she says she thinks it’s a great idea to get help from Upromise. Parents spend an average of $235,000 to raise their kids before they even head to a university. “Those purchases could be earning money back,” Sorvino says. “You can really start building things up that way.”

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