The Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) is awarding $8,000 in college savings certificates in its second annual "Make Your Mark" bookmark design contest during September, designated as College Savings Month in Utah. Meanwhile, the 15-year-old program's first account holder is seeing his granddaughter off to college this fall.
Utah students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to submit a bookmark design before the end of September to be eligible for one of the eight $1,000 certificates to be deposited in a 529 college savings account.
"We were so impressed by the thousands of entries we received last year during our first 'Make Your Mark' contest," said a news release quoting UESP executive director Lynne Ward. "By expanding the contest, we hope to encourage even more participation and raise awareness about the importance of saving for college."
The winning bookmarks, which will be announced Oct. 26, will be featured in UESP and Zions Bank marketing materials.
The judging panel includes Gov. Gary Herbert; Weber State President Ann Millner; retired football coach LaVell Edwards; and Deborah Bayle, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake. Go to www.uesp.org to find the bookmark template and contest rules.
Since the state launched UESP in 1996 to manage college savings accounts, it has become one of the highest-rated 529 plans in the nation. Now the plan's first account holder, Duane Hill, is reaping the rewards of his investment. Hill's oldest granddaughter, Marley Rose Hill-Filben, is attending the University of Utah.
"What my grandparents have done for me makes it a lot easier to pay for college and not worry about getting so many loans," Hill-Filben said in the news release. She plans to study environmental studies. "It takes a weight off my shoulders. I'm grateful that they have done this."