Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
The families of 12 lucky students have been presented with a $200 check for a college savings plan following a daily drawing at this year's Minnesota State Fair.
The drawing was sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE), with contributing funds donated by the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC). Winners range from parents of students as young as pre-school through a freshman in college.
"We want to spread the word that saving for college is more important than ever, and the advantages of starting early are significant," said Larry Pogemiller, Director of OHE. "Even with modest contributions, a college savings account can grow into enough money to substantially help defray the rising cost of a postsecondary education."
The awarded checks are made out to the Minnesota College Savings Plan and can be used to either open a new college savings account for a qualifying beneficiary, or deposited into an existing Minnesota College Savings Plan account. The funds can be withdrawn tax-free for qualified college expenses at any eligible higher education institution in the United States. Qualifying expenses include tuition, certain room and board expenses, fees, books, and supplies and equipment required for enrollment.
According to an upcoming paper in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, even a small savings account for a child can inspire kids to do well in school and pursue a post-secondary education. This correlation is especially strong among children whose families earn less than $50,000 a year. According to the paper, these students are three times more likely to be on course to graduate than their low- and moderate-income peers without any savings.
The Minnesota College Savings Plan is a 529 account helping families save for future higher education expenses. More information about the Plan can be found at: www.mnsaves.org. Funding for the drawing was provided by OHE non-taxpayer administrative revenues and the Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC).
Pogemiller said that instead of the usual pencils offered at the OHE booth during the State Fair, the decision was made to offer something that better reflects the priorities and values of the Office of Higher Education.
"What could be a better give-away at the State Fair than an investment in the future?" said Pogemiller.
For more information about the State Fair drawing contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902.