Tuition Reduction Incentive Program

In 2004, Ottawa Christian School introduced a great new addition to its Certificate Program – it’s called TRIP! That’s the Tuition Reduction Incentive Program, a program designed to either help reduce an individual family’s tuition or assist in meeting the general budget. Here’s how it works: the school buys certificates and gift cards in bulk at a discounted rate from various retailers, and sells them at face value to the participants. (The certificates are from retailers who stock everyday needs including food, clothing, gas, and entertainment.) The certificates and vouchers are then used just like cash at the participating retailer, and the net proceeds are kept by the school. But here’s the twist: every participating family is given an account in which their purchases are recorded, and 40% of the credit earned goes into this account, to be used towards the family’s annual tuition. The school will keep the remaining 60% profit to reduce the operating deficit. Every participant in the TRIP has four choices for applying their 40% of the profits:

  1. a specific Family tuition account
  2. the General Operating Fund (which would assist in meeting the annual budget) or,
  3. the Tuition Assistance Fund (which is established to help those families who, due to circumstances, cannot meet their annual tuition payments)
  4. the Land and Building Fund (which would assist in paying off money owed on the Strandherd property)

If there is no specific allocation, the funds will go directly to reduce the operating deficit. So, for example, the John Doe family regularly purchases certificates for groceries, gas and clothing. Here’s what would happen on a monthly basis:

Certificates purchased Value of Certificates
Grocery $500.00
Gasoline 100.00
Clothing 50.00
Miscellaneous/entertainment 100.00
Total purchases $750.00
Average discount 5%
School portion of profits (60%) $ 22.50
Doe family portion of profits (40%) $ 15.00


If this is done consistently throughout the year, the Doe family can reduce their annual tuition by approximately $180. Of course, this is just one scenario. Different retailers offer different discount rates (see the attached retailer list for details), and every family has its own spending patterns. However, the beauty of this program is that anyone can participate, and direct their TRIP earnings to an account they’ve specified on their TRIP registration. For example, if John Doe’s parents also want to participate in order to reduce the tuition for their grandchildren’s education, they can direct their TRIP earnings into the John Doe family account. Then there is the Future Families scenario. If a family is planning to send their preschooler to OCS in the future, they can participate in the program and allocate their TRIP earnings to their future tuition payments. In fact, a Future Family need not even have children yet in order to benefit from this. They can still establish an account for their future child(ren). They too can get as many friends and family members involved in the program to help them make an even greater savings. Just think: if the Doe Family had five other families participating and allocating their TRIP earnings to the Doe family account, and their spending patterns were approximately equal, the Doe family tuition could be reduced by almost $1,100 per year! The beauty of the program is that it costs the participant nothing. The money used to buy certificates is the same as would be spent at the retailers without using the certificates. And no one spent an extra penny on anything they didn’t really want, like with chocolate bar sales or other such fundraisers. People have also been mentioning that it’s a great budgeting tool – purchase certificates at the beginning of the month for all anticipated needs for the entire month, and you can easily keep track of your spending. So what can you do? First, fill out the registration form and return it to the school office, and start participating today so that you can reap the benefits of such a great program. Second, tell your family, friends and neighbours about TRIP so that they can get involved as well. TRIP is like most other things – the greater your consistency and effort, the greater the result. Many families are feeling the burden of the cost of Christian education. Using TRIP is one practical way to reduce your family’s (or your friend’s) tuition costs. Please consider using TRIP with diligence this year – for your own family or to help someone else, as well as for the benefit of the entire OCS community.

Tuition Reduction Incentive Program (TRIP Gift Card Program)