Deadline nears for SMART529 contest

CHARLESTON – Entries for the sixth annual SMART529 “When I Grow Up?” essay contest sponsored by the West Virginia Treasurer and The Hartford must be postmarked by midnight Feb. 22.

The contest promises $5,000 in college savings funds for a winning contestant.

Entry forms and contest rules can be downloaded and printed at A child must prepare an entry, get a parent’s signature and answer in 100 words or less, “When I grow up, I want to be a ______ because…” One winner will receive $5,000 in college savings funds.

SMART529 is West Virginia’s sanctioned college savings plan.

A winner will be selected from each of three grade categories, kindergarten to first grade, second and third grade and fourth and fifth grade in each of five regions for a total of 15 winners.

Each regional winner will receive a $500 SMART529 account. Each regional winner’s school will also receive $500.

The winners will have a chance at an additional $4,500 SMART529 account. A random winner will be drawn for the big prize during a May news conference at the Capitol.

Going into its sixth year, the annual SMART529 “When I Grow Up” short essay contest has already awarded college savings accounts to 75 West Virginia elementary school students.

Regional winner selections will be based on criteria including originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education in the chosen field.