While sitting at the kitchen table one morning in 2004, the Walsh family saw an ad in the newspaper announcing a contest, sponsored by Rhode Island Treasury's CollegeBound program, asking students to draw a picture about saving for college.
Mackenzie Walsh, who was in first grade at the time, asked her parents how much college costs. Their reply was that the cost could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. "That's a lot of dollars!" replied Mackenzie. "I should draw a picture of a girl with a lot of dollars", and so she did.
Her mom, Sharon, submitted the drawing Mackenzie won the contest in the "5-9 year old" category and was awarded a $5,000 grant to her CollegeBound account.
"We always wanted Mackenzie to know from an early age that we were planning and saving for her to go to college. We knew that no matter where she went to college, it would be a lot of money", said Sharon. "My husband and I and Mackenzie's grandparents contributed to her CollegeBound account. We started early and increased the amount we contributed gradually over the years."
This fall, thanks to her family's planning - and her award-winning drawing skills, Mackenzie began her freshman year at North Carolina's Elon University, where she is studying strategic communications.
"During National College Savings Month, Mackenzie's story is a great reminder of the importance of saving for college", said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "Setting up, and investing in, a college savings account helps nurture a child's educational aspirations. Here in Rhode Island, our residents can open an account with as little as a $1.00 investment".
CollegeBound Saver is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage Rhode Islanders to affordably save for college. As a "529 plan", investments and earnings can be used at accredited colleges, universities, vocational school and trade schools across the nation. Assets grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are also federal income-tax free.
CollegeBoundbaby is an enhancement of CollegeBound Saver and is designed to help Rhode Island families get an early start saving for their child's higher education. Every child born to or adopted by Rhode Island families is eligible for a $100 CollegeBoundbaby grant to be used for higher education.
To learn more about CollegeBound please visit www.collegeboundsaver.com or call (877) 517-4829.
Evan England Director of Communications, Rhode Island Treasury 401-222-2240 firstname.lastname@example.org