Aeroplan miles help some Alberta post-secondary students pay tuition

Above: Tony Tighe explains how the program is being used in Calgary

EDMONTON — The cost of post-secondary just keeps climbing, but now Alberta students have another way to pay for their education.

Students can now use Aeroplan miles to pay for expenses such as tuition, residence fees, textbooks and meal plans at select Alberta colleges and universities. Parents, relatives, or friends can also convert points as a gift.

The program is the result of a partnership between Aeroplan and Higher Ed Points Inc., a Toronto-based startup that acts as the middle-man.

This is how the program works: Aeroplan collectors can exchange 35,000 miles for a $250 credit through Higher Ed Points, which then receives a confirmation code and processes the payment with the affiliate school.

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READ MORE: Need a hand with tuition? Try using those Aeroplan points

On board in Alberta so far are Student Aid Alberta and nine schools: University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College, The King’s University, Olds College, Ambrose University, Alberta College of Art + Design, SAIT  Polytechnic, Red Deer College, Concordia University College of Alberta.

55 Canadian post-secondary institutions offer the Aeroplan conversion program.

Suzanne Tyson, a former Air Miles exec, created Higher Ed Points with the aim of letting collectors convert points into credits that can be used against university or college tuition.

In 2013 she pitched the program to Aeroplan, which instantly recognized the win-win chance to offer members something completely different than offerings from competing programs as well as further a good cause.

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With files from Jamie Sturgeon, Consumer Affairs Reporter, Global News

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