The 16th annual “Why I Want to Go to College” writing contest, sponsored by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and the Omaha Storm Chasers, is getting underway with entries due March 2, 2018.

The writing contest is open to seventh and eighth grade students, and 12 winners will receive contributions to Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) college savings accounts, including $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Three winners will be chosen from each of Nebraska’s three Congressional districts, and thee winners will be chosen from outside of Nebraska.

Nebraska winners will be recognized at home plate on May 6 at the Storm Chasers game at Werner Park in Papillion. Each Nebraska winner will receive four tickets to the game.

“Congratulating contest winners with a ceremony at Werner Park is one of the highlights of the year,” said State Treasurer Don Stenberg, trustee of NEST. “I enjoy meeting the young people and hearing about their plans for their future, and I also enjoy meeting the parents, grandparents and siblings who provide enormous support, encouragement and inspiration to these young people. The writing contest provides an opportunity for young people to learn about saving for higher education and, at the same time, polish their writing skills for high school and later.”

Families can save for college for their children and grandchildren through NEST, the state-sponsored 529 college savings program that allows for tax-free investments and tax-free qualified withdrawals. Nebraska account owners qualify for up to $10,000 a year in state income tax deductions.

Students are asked to reflect in their written entries on the value of education and what they hope to achieve through higher education. Entries are limited to 750 words and must be typed, double-spaced on 8 ½ by 11-inch paper. They will be judged by students and faculty at Midland University in Fremont.

Details about the writing contest are available on the Treasurer’s website.

Entries must be postmarked by March 2, 2018 and mailed to Becki Frishman, Omaha Storm Chasers, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, NE 68046.

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