Your child could win money for college! Find out how now!

State Treasurer John Perdue recently kicked off the 11th annual SMART529 When I Grow Up Essay Contest. The statewide essay contest is a successful initiative to encourage West Virginia students in grades K-5 to think about education beyond high school and start saving for that goal.

The contest also encourages parents to think about saving for their child’s future. Studies show that children with college savings accounts are more likely to enroll in some form of education beyond high school.

The SMART Family Newsletter is distributed to all West Virginia elementary schools with K-5 students. The newsletter contains the contest entry form and rules. Students simply write a 100 words or less essay that begins “When I Grow Up, I want to be a/an…”

Students can enter individually or with their class. Fifteen winners are selected statewide (grades K/1st, 2nd/3rd, 4th/5th in five regions). Each regional winner is awarded $500 in a SMART529 College Savings account. One randomly drawn grand prize winner will receive an additional $4,500 for their account. Each winner’s school will receive a $500 cash award.

In addition, there is an essay contest for teachers (K-5). One teacher will be awarded $2,500 cash for an essay entry about their use of When I Grow Up contest in classroom lessons.

For more information and entry forms, go to Hurry! The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 23.