Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) Connecticut State Treasurer

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Treasurer Wooden calls on Connecticut kids to Dream Big, announces annual college savings competition

Art and Essay Competition to Award Over $27,000 to Elementary & Middle School Students
Feb 11, 2020

HARTFORD, CT — Today, State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, Trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), announced the launch of the annual CHET Dream Big! Competition and updated theme for 2020. The competition is encouraging Connecticut elementary and middle school students in grades K-8 to share what they want to do after they graduate college in original drawings and essays. This year, the essay theme also embraces the timely subject of youth leadership and empowers middle school students to share how they will make a difference in their community or the world, through their job, idea, or community service, after they go to college.

“Young people across Connecticut and the country continue to demonstrate their limitless potential to lead the way in creating positive change in their communities and beyond,” said Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden, Trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust. “The focus of this year’s Dream Big competition empowers students to see their place in the world and to think about a future which includes college and creating an impact – goals we want to help them achieve.”

There will be forty-eight winners statewide. Four students will be awarded a grand prize of a $1,000 CHET account contribution, while the other forty-four winners will be awarded a $529 CHET account contribution. Winners will represent all regions of Connecticut and grade levels. Schools can also win. Each year, K-8 schools across the state incorporate Dream Big! as a unique teaching and learning opportunity to promote college and career readiness. Eight schools – one in each county in Connecticut – will be selected to receive up to $500 in cash for entries submitted on behalf of their students. To be eligible to win, the school must submit a minimum of 50 entries on behalf of entrants and have the greatest percentage of completed entries in their county. School winners in the past have used the money to purchase library books, classroom materials and other items to enrich their students’ academic experience.

Entries are judged based on theme, originality and creativity. Drawings will be evaluated on artistic design and composition, while essays are evaluated on overall grammar, spelling and punctuation. Entry instructions, official rules and additional details can be found at

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. No state funds or CHET account participant fees are used for awards.

The competition runs Tuesday, February 4 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

About CHET
The Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) direct-sold college savings plan launched in 1997 and as of December 2019 has grown to more than $3.5 billion in assets and 132,000 accounts. Withdrawals to date equal nearly $2.1 billion, helping more than 57,000 students pay for college expenses. 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 can 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. Any investment earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals 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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