"As soon as he got his Social Security number, I got him signed up. With the way the economy is today, it is important to start saving now," Hughes said.
The SMART529 WV Direct pamphlet published by Perdue's office points out that, during the 2011-2012 academic year, it cost $15,218 for all college expenses for students attending a public university in West Virginia.
But 18 years from now, the pamphlet predicts, those costs will jump up to $39,463 a year.
Amy Hamilton, director of customer relations for Perdue's office, also is saving to pay college expenses for her daughter Rylee, a 7-year-old now attending Overbook Elementary School in Charleston.
Rylee, who wants to attend college and become a veterinarian, said she loves animals and birds, particularly peacocks.
"Her grandparents also put money into her account often," Amy Hamilton said.
Perdue said, "We want to get people to create plans for their children and grandchildren. We have a nice card you can put under a Christmas tree if you create a new account.
"I started the 529 college savings program in West Virginia back in 2002 so every person in this state would have an affordable way to save for higher education.
"The best way for our children to get ahead in life is through education. Most jobs today require some type of higher education or training."
People interested in more information can visit the SMART529 website or call 866-574-3542.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.