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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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