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CHET and State Treasurer Wooden awards over $540,000 to Connecticut students

Jun 02, 2020

Hartford, CT — State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, also a trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust, today announced he will award over $540,000 to 272 Connecticut students, in kindergarten through 9th grade, who are this year’s winners of the CHET Dream Big! Competition and CHET Advance Scholarship.

“It is with a deep sense of pride that I announce the winners of this year’s CHET Dream Big and Advance Scholarship programs,” said State Treasurer Wooden, who serves as Trustee for CHET. “With this next generation of students coming through our school systems, Connecticut’s future never looked brighter. I am encouraged to see how many of our young students see the importance of civic engagement. The level of engagement and motivation for change is a testament to the education and support from schools, families and communities.”

Over 1,300 elementary and middle school students across the state participated in the Dream Big! Competition. Kindergarteners through third graders shared artwork depicting what they want to do after they go to college. Fourth through eighth grade students wrote essays explaining how they will make a difference in their community or the world after college through their job, idea, or community service. Popular themes represented this year included healthcare and science, space exploration, farming, and skilled trades.

For the CHET Advance Scholarship program, first year high school students had the option to enter a civic engagement category or non-merit category. For the first time in the program’s history, there was a category specifically tailored for students attending Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS) schools.

Additionally, the following schools each received a $500 prize for receiving the most Dream Big entries:

  • Alice Peck Learning Center – Hamden
  • Brooklyn Middle School – Brooklyn
  • Gainfield Elementary School – Southbury
  • Madison Elementary School – Bridgeport
  • North Stonington Elementary School – North Stonington
  • Smalley Elementary School – New Britain
  • Vance Elementary School – New Britain

A gallery of Dream Big! winners and their entries can be found at and a full list of CHET Advance Scholarship winners can be found at

About Dream Big, CHET Advance Scholarship and CHET
The Dream Big! Competition and the CHET Advance Scholarship are sponsored by the State Treasurer’s Office, TIAA, Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) and CHET. The programs are funded by the CHET program managers. No state funds are used for awards issued through the Dream Big! Competition or CHET Advance Scholarship. To ensure the impartiality of the random drawings of the CHET Advance Scholarship, International Scholarship and Tuition Services, which has more than 25 years of scholarship administration experience, administers the selection process with oversight from TFI. The Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) direct-sold college savings plan was established in 1997 has grown to more than $3.5 billion in assets and 132,000 accounts. Over $2.1 billion has been withdrawn from CHET accounts to help more than 57,000 students pay for college expenses. The State of Connecticut offers CHET to help families save for future college costs. Funds deposited into a CHET account have tax advantages and can be used at accredited colleges and universities across the country, including vocational and technical schools, and some colleges abroad. Connecticut residents are allowed to deduct 529 contributions from their state income taxes – up to $5,000 for an individual or up to $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Investment earnings are exempt from state and federal taxes if used for qualified educational expenses. The CHET direct-sold plan is managed by TIAA Tuition Financing, Inc. For more information about CHET, visit or call the customer service center at (888) 799-2438. Find us on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@CHET529).

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