Kenneth O’Mara of rural Eddyville, Neb., is the winner of the $529 drawing sponsored by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office Sept. 10-12 at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island.
O’Mara’s name was drawn Sept. 13 in the Treasurer’s Office by Jeffrey States, the State Investment Officer. O’Mara will receive a $529 contribution to a Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) Direct College Savings Plan account.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust is a state-sponsored 529 college savings program that takes its name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. State Treasurer Don Stenberg is Trustee of NEST. First National Bank of Omaha is program manager. Investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.
“We offered the drawing at Husker Harvest Days to attract attention to Nebraska’s college savings program and to encourage families to learn more about NEST,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “We have an excellent college savings program in Nebraska, and we want all Nebraskans to be aware of how they can save responsibly and effectively for their children’s higher education.”
O’Mara, a retired educator and farmer, said he intends to use the money to add to college savings for his wife’s four young grandchildren. His own granddaughter is now grown with a master’s degree in social work.
O’Mara learned that his ticket was the winning entry in the drawing on Friday the 13th, a lucky calendar day for him. He and his wife, Marjo, met at a dance in Kearney on Friday the 13th almost eight years ago. Both had been recently widowed.
O’Mara, who lives on a farm that was purchased by his great-grandfather in 1879, goes to Husker Harvest Days to look over farm equipment and check out the vendors. He said he was surprised that his name was drawn in the $529 drawing, adding that he usually doesn’t win anything.
A 529 college savings plan is a tax-advantaged investment plan designed to encourage saving for the future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. Withdrawals from 529 plans for qualified education expenses, including tuition, books and some board and room expenses, are free from federal and state income tax. In Nebraska’s program, account holders who are Nebraska taxpayers are eligible for up to $5,000 a year in state tax deductions.
Assets in the accounts can be used at four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, technical schools, and graduate schools in the United States and in some other countries.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust maintains more than $3 billion in assets for more than 206,600 accounts across the United States. More than 58,000 accounts are in Nebraska.