HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier announced today the kickoff of the 4th Annual CHET Dream Big! Competition, a statewide drawing and essay contest aimed at getting Connecticut students in grades K through 5 to think about their education and careers.
Treasurer Nappier, who serves as Trustee for the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), the state's direct-sold 529 college savings plan said, "Each year we strive to reach more of our communities, so that all of our kids have the opportunity to be inspired and imagine what they can accomplish by focusing on their education. The competition is not only geared to students, it also encourages those caring for our children to help them make their dreams come true by opening a CHET account or by adding to an already existing account." Last year's competition generated entries from more than half of Connecticut's towns and cities, up from a third in 2010.
The CHET Dream Big! Competition asks students in grades K through 3 to draw a picture that answers the question, "What do I want to do after I go to college?" Fourth and fifth graders are asked to submit essays responding to the question, "How will I change the world after I go to college?" Entries are judged on creativity, originality, portrayal of theme, spelling and grammar. One girl and one boy from each grade from each of the state's eight counties will be selected as winners. The winners will receive a $300 contribution to a CHET account. Teachers who enroll two or more students in the contest will receive a $50 gift card for school supplies.
"By involving our young students, the CHET Dream Big! Competition underscores how important it is to think about college, and how it is never too early to save for the ever-increasing costs of higher education," Treasurer Nappier said. "It also offers a chance for adults and educators to help children consider the role college can play in their future success."
According to the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, college costs are far outpacing the rate of inflation. In 2010, the average cost of getting a four-year degree at a public college was approximately $70,000. A four-year degree at a private college averaged about $161,000. By 2022, those costs are expected to more than double.
Superintendents and school principals in each of Connecticut's eight counties have been contacted and urged to encourage participation in the CHET Dream Big! Competition, which is running from January 30th through March 30, 2012. All entries for the CHET Dream Big! Competition must be postmarked by March 30, 2012. The Contest is sponsored by the Connecticut State Treasurer's Office and TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., CHET Program Manager.
For official contest rules, prize details, and more information, or to order CHET Dream Big! entry materials free of charge, schools and parents can visit www.chetdreambig.com or call (860) 305-4605.
The CHET direct-sold 529 college savings plan was established in 1997, and is administered by State Treasurer Nappier's office. As of January 25, 2012, CHET has grown to nearly 107,000 individual accounts with approximately $1.6 billion in assets. In January of 1999, when State Treasurer Nappier first came to office, CHET had $18.5 million in assets and 4,009 accounts.
For more information about CHET, or to enroll online, go to: www.aboutchet.com or call the CHET customer service center at 1-888-799-2438. Spanish-speaking CHET representatives are available at 1-888-802-4717.
SOURCE Connecticut State Treasurer's Office