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Statewide essay contest offers fifth-graders chance to win $529 for education and career goals

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PHOENIX – AZ529, Arizona’s College Savings Plan, in conjunction with the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office, is asking Arizona fifth-graders what their dream job is and how do you plan to achieve this in the future?

That’s the theme of this year’s third annual essay writing contest, which launched on Monday, August 22 and is open to fifth-graders across Arizona.

A total of 20 winners will be selected from across the state and will receive $529 toward opening a new or existing AZ529 college savings plan. One winner will be selected from each of Arizona’s 15 counties and at least one winner each representing a district, charter school, private school, tribal, and home school will be selected. Up to five additional winners will be awarded in Maricopa and Pima counties, based on higher population.

In total, more than $10,500 will be distributed to 20 students to help them save for their studies beyond high school. Parents or guardians of winners will be responsible for creating an AZ529 account if one does not already exist.

All entries must be submitted beginning August 22, either online at az529.gov/essaycontest or by direct mail. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on October 2.

“Our young students are the future of Arizona,” said Treasurer Kimberly Yee. ‚ÄúThis essay contest gives students the opportunity to highlight their aspirations for the future and think about how they will achieve their dream job with a study plan. Families prepare for their child’s future when they start saving for education with an AZ529 plan. We are thrilled to offer this essay contest to students in our great state.

The AZ529 plan has provided a successful college savings plan for Arizonans since 1999, helping families accumulate $1.9 billion in tax-deferred savings. The goal of the essay contest is to spread awareness of the AZ529 plan and pave the way for another generation of students to realize their dreams of post-secondary education through proper savings. Winners will be honored by Treasurer Yee at a special ceremony at the State Capitol in October.

One of the benefits of an AZ529 account is that it offers a tax-efficient approach to setting aside money for colleges, trade schools, and other educational pathways for high school graduates. Arizona residents may receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax deduction for contributions made to an AZ529 account each year, up to $2,000 per beneficiary or $4,000 per beneficiary depending on the reporting status. Funds earned over time will remain tax-free when used for a wide variety of covered educational expenses. Plus, friends and family members can add to a child’s AZ529 plan at any time and enjoy the same tax benefits for themselves.

For more information about AZ529, visit http://www.az529.gov. For complete contest details and rules, visit https://az529.gov/essaycontest.

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