Phoenix, AZ, December 01, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- October marked Arizona’s Annual College Savings Month and across the state the Arizona Family College Savings (529) Program (AZ529) actively outreached to thousands of parents, grandparents, soon-to-be mothers and fathers and family members about the benefits of 529 plans. AZ529, which is administered by the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE), also announced its annual Picture Yourself After College coloring contest in early October and received more than 200 entries by the contest’s October 31 deadline, making it the most successful year for the contest to date.
Picture Yourself After College is AZ529’s annual scholarship contest and invites Arizona youth up to 14 years old to draw how they see their careers after attending college. This year, the judging committee includes Chair of the Phoenix Suns Charities Martha Moyer Wagoner and the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s president and CEO George Scobas. The winner receives a $250 scholarship to start saving for college. Additional prizes, including Phoenix Suns game tickets will also be awarded through random drawings.
“Forty-one percent of Arizona parents recently surveyed by Fidelity Investments indicated they are familiar with 529 Plans, an increase from 37 percent last year,” said Dr. April Osborn, Executive Director for the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education. “Arizona families have been very receptive to learning about 529 Plans with 57 percent indicating they are taking positive steps toward saving for their children’s college education. We feel now, more than ever, people are realizing how crucial it is to save for college, and to start saving young.”
One of this year’s campaign high points was a new event partnership in Tucson, which in turn contributed to more than 100 of the coloring contest entries. Other events were held in conjunction with popular local attractions including the Phoenix Zoo with Radio Disney for Boo at the Zoo and the Phoenix Children’s Museum. The events concluded with the 44th Annual Phoenix Y Race at South Mountain Park. The Valley of the Sun YMCA also welcomed Picture Yourself After College into its branches across the state and distributed the contest to kids in youth programs and to its members.
“Our hope is that by increasing awareness of the need to save early, we encourage families to review their college goals and savings strategies and be better prepared for their children’s future,” continued Dr. Osborn. “Many people are surprised to learn that with 529 Plans you can start saving before a child is even born. It definitely makes people take a step back and understand the importance of being proactive.”
The Arizona Family College Savings Program is designed to help families meet the rising costs of higher education in an easy, flexible way and offers a wide variety of college savings choices such as FDIC Insured CD’s, mutual funds, indexed funds, age-based and static portfolios. AZ529 works with three providers to create individualized 529 Plans: College Savings Bank, Fidelity Investments, and Ivy Funds. The plans offer additional benefits in comparison to other college savings accounts including tax incentives, low minimum investment, no income restrictions and professional money management. AZ529 also provides valuable college savings information in its 2012 College Savings Planner - available at the AZ529 website. More information can be found online at AZ529.gov and www.facebook.com/AZCollegeSavings.
The ACPE is proud to promote the importance of higher education throughout the State of Arizona year round. In February, ACPE will conduct its 17th Annual College Goal Sunday, and Saturday TOO! campaign educating students on completing the FAFSA application process. The event will be hosted across the state on February 9 & 10, 2013, to bring together high school seniors and their families with financial aid professionals. The goal is completing the FAFSA, which is the first step in gaining access to financial aid for many students and their families. For more information, visit collegegoalsunday.com.
About Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE)
The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education’s mission is to expand access and to increase success in postsecondary education. ACPE is the state’s administrator for Arizona Family College Savings Program, administers student financial aid programs, hosts College Goal Sunday, and numerous other postsecondary education initiatives. For more information on the ACPE visit www.azhighered.gov.