CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Every hand went up at Piedmont Elementary School Wednesday morning when state Treasurer John Perdue asked a group of first-grade students who wanted to go to college.
"It's important that you obtain the things you dream about. But you've got to go that extra mile. Read that extra library book, and listen in your classes. We're making it easier for your parents to send you to college," Perdue told the class.
Perdue visited the school to announce changes to the state's SMART529 Direct Plan, which will offer West Virginia residents one of the lowest-cost plans in the country for saving for college.
The plan now no longer requires a minimum contribution of $50 and will invest primarily in the Vanguard investment management company.
"This means any West Virginian can now invest in a college savings program for their child or grandchild without worrying about paying a fee. If they want to put a dollar in, they can get started. No excuses now," Perdue said. "We are so excited about our plan because we think it's going to make us very competitive nationwide."
Currently, there are about 9,000 account holders in the state who are saving for a college education through the SMART529 WV Direct Plan.
The decade-old plan allows West Virginia residents to choose among a variety of investment options to build up funding for colleges across the country.
The dollar-for-dollar tax incentive available to eligible families who invest in the program is one thing that will not change.
"The tax incentives will always be there. You're buying an amazing gift for your child and still getting money on your state income tax. It's a win-win," Perdue said.
The SMART529 Direct Plan is sold through its website at www.smart529.com or by phone at 1-866-574-3542.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.