There is no time like the present to find every possible way of obtaining early savings for children's future educations. Arizona Family College Savings (aka AZ529) is doing its part to help 20 Arizona families get a head start on that goal. And one winner specifically from your area will win.

The AZ529 organization is hosting its first-ever essay-writing contest, open to all 5th graders in the state. Twenty prizes worth $529 each will be awarded to winners in each county across Arizona, and the additional five will be split between Maricopa and Pima counties. In total, more than $10,500 will be allocated to 20 youth to assist in saving for their education plans beyond high school. Entries are still needed from Coconino County by the Oct. 31 deadline.

For the past 20 years, the Arizona Family College Savings Plan (AZ529) has helped families accumulate more than $1.9 billion in tax-deferred college savings. In honor of its 20th Anniversary, an essay-writing competition is now open to all fifth-grade students within the state of Arizona.

The theme of the contest is, “In 20 years I’ll change the world by . . .”

“Thinking about the future and planning for college is extremely vital, even for elementary school students” says Deena Lager, director of the Arizona Family College Savings Program. “We’re excited to celebrate our anniversary and share this essay-writing contest with fifth-graders around the state. It’s an opportunity to jumpstart their college savings by winning $529 to use toward their future goals. We want to make sure that every county is represented.”

The essay-writing contest is being held to commemorate 20 years of providing a successful college savings program for Arizonans. The goal of the writing challenge is to raise awareness of the AZ529 plan and to pave a path for another generation of students to achieve their post-secondary goals through savings and preventing future student loan debt. Entries will be accepted online and through direct mail from September 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019.

Arizona’s 529 plan, AZ529, offers a tax-advantaged way to put money aside for college. Arizona residents receive a dollar for dollar state tax deduction for contributions made to an AZ 529 account each year, up to $2,000 or $4,000 depending on filing status. Money earned over time will be tax-free if used for educational expenses. Additionally, friends and family members can contribute to a child’s AZ529 plan and earn the same tax benefits.

For more information about AZ 529 visit http://www.az529.gov. For complete contest details and rules, visit https://az529.gov/essaycontest.

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