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College Savings Plan announces scholarship account winners


A 12-year-old boy from Seward has won a $25,000 University of Alaska College Savings Plan scholarship account and four other young Alaskans have won $2,500 scholarship accounts.

The winners were announced during commercial breaks during the Sunday Night Football game Nov. 27 on NBC. Logan Smith of Seward won a $25,000 scholarship account. An announcer, who presented Logan with a giant check revealing the amount of the scholarship account, surprised the boy and his family at their home.

The scholarship account drawing is for all people who check line 6 of their Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application, in which residents may elect to put half of their PFD into a new or existing UA College Savings Plan account.

"College is expensive so it's a no brainer - just go ahead and take half your PFD, stick it right in and you don't even have to think about it,” said Monica Cooper, Logan’s mother. “It's just a good plan.”

Winners of the $2,500 scholarship accounts are:
• Ashlyne Miller, 12, Sitka
• Megan Kenner, 14, Anchorage
• Nicole Vanni, 18, Anchorage
• Tyler Johnson, 19, Sterling

This is the second year the UA College Savings Plan offered the scholarship account giveaway aimed to encourage Alaska families to set aside half of their Permanent Fund Dividends for higher education expenses. Everyone who checked “yes” on line six of their 2011 PFD applications and contributed half of their PFD to the college savings plan was automatically entered in the drawing.

“The giveaway is a fun way to get Alaskans thinking about their children’s future and the winners of our scholarship accounts receive a generous addition to their savings,” said Linda English, director of the college savings plan.  “To increase a family’s odds of winning, parents can also check the box on their own PFD application.”

Since the scholarship account giveaway started, the number of applicants choosing to set aside part of their PFD to a new or existing college savings account has increased from 7,910 in 2009 to 9,557 in 2011.

The UA College Savings Plan will offer the scholarship account giveaway again next year to residents who contribute half of their 2012 PFD to the plan through the official application. The application period runs Jan. 1 through March 31, 2012. Residents can apply online or visit a distribution center. The Education Trust of Alaska, the trust established to administer the college savings program, funds the scholarship account giveaway.

Plan beneficiaries can use their funds to pay for educational expenses at any eligible college, university, or vocational/technical school in the country, not just UA. Families can open a tax-advantaged account with as little as $50.

For more information about the PFD, go to http://www.pfd.state.ak.us. To learn more about the UA College Savings Plan and the $25,000 Scholarship Account Giveaway, go to www.uacollegesavings.com.

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