Seventh and eighth graders are being encouraged to enter the 15th annual “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest, sponsored by Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg and the Omaha Storm Chasers. Entries are due March 17.
Winners will receive Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000. Nebraska winners also will receive tickets to the May 21 Storm Chasers game at Werner Park in Papillion. In all, 12 winners will be selected—nine from Nebraska and three from outside the state.
“In this, Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial year, we are excited to be celebrating a milestone at NEST, the 15th year of the writing contest for seventh and eighth graders. Each year, the contest provides us at NEST an opportunity to meet young Nebraskans and read about their educational and career goals and the people who inspire them,” said Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of NEST. “This contest reminds us of our mission and of the importance of helping families save for their children’s educational needs through wise, responsible investment choices with significant tax advantages.”
Stenberg is asking school administrators, teachers, and parents to encourage students to enter the contest and to learn more about saving for college. Students in public schools, private schools, and home schools are encouraged to enter. He reminded students that the contest is an opportunity to practice good writing skills and to learn to express themselves clearly and persuasively, as well as to begin saving for college or to add to their existing savings.
“Families easily can save for college for their children and grandchildren through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, the state-sponsored college savings program that allows for tax-free investments and tax-free qualified withdrawals. Nebraska account owners qualify for up to $10,000 a year in state income tax deductions,” Stenberg said.
Three winners will be chosen in each of Nebraska’s three U.S. Congressional districts, and three winners will be selected from outside Nebraska. First-place winners will each receive a $2,000 contribution to a NEST college savings plan. Second-place winners will each receive a $1,000 contribution to a NEST plan, and third-place winners will each receive a $500 contribution to a NEST plan. Each Nebraska winner will receive four tickets to the May 21 Storm Chasers game.
A total of 1,133 entries were received last year. As in the past, preliminary judging will be done by students and faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and final selections will be made by Treasurer Stenberg.
Entries are due March 17. Contest rules are available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/scholarships/essay/college/2017/contest-announcement
The following rules apply to entries:
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.