Seventh and eighth graders across Nebraska and the U.S. are being urged to enter the 12th annual "Why I Want to Go to College" writing contest.
Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced Thursday that contest winners will receive contributions ranging from $500 to $2,000 to their state-sponsored 529 college savings plans.
Three winners will be selected from each of Nebraska's three U.S. congressional districts, in addition to three winners from outside the state.
The contest is aimed at getting middle school students and their families thinking about college and how to pay for that higher education.
"We look forward to the annual writing contest and to reading what seventh and eighth grade students say about the value of a college education," Stenberg said. "The students tend to share our strong belief that a college education not only widens employment opportunities, but also contributes to a young person's overall sense of confidence, worth, and world view."
Stenberg says that though parents are encouraged to start saving for college at birth, there is still time to accumulate savings when children reach seventh or eight grade.
Contest entries should be no more than 750 words and must be postmarked by March 28. The entries will be judged by faculty and students at the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with final selections made by Treasurer Stenberg.
Winners will be
announced in early May.
First-place winners will each receive a $2,000 contribution to a Nebraska college savings plan. Second-place winners will each receive a $1,000 contribution to a college savings plan, and third-place winners will each receive a $500 contribution to a college savings plan.
First-place winners from Nebraska will receive a one-night hotel stay in Omaha, and all Nebraska winners will receive tickets to the May 11 Storm Chasers' game, where they will be recognized.
For a complete list of contest rules, go to http://www.treasurer.org/cs/.