Local girl entered contest with Idaho’s 529 College Savings Program - East Idaho News

Local girl entered contest with Idaho’s 529 College Savings Program

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FIRTH — An Idaho organization wants parents and children to remember college isn’t only something to be saving for, but it’s also something parents should be talking to their children about.

Six-year-old Firth native Cora High spends her days taking care of her three cats and two dogs. She dreams of having even more animals to care for one day as a veterinarian. Even at her young age, her parents have taught her the importance of attending college to turn her veterinarian dream into a reality.

That’s why her parents had her participate in the “Draw Your Dream” sweepstakes sponsored by IDeal, Idaho’s state-sponsored 529 College Savings Program.

“It (the contest) was a good conversation starter for her and I,” Cora’s mom, Carly High, told EastIdahoNews.com. “It was a good time for me to say, ‘Me and dad are putting away money for you to go to college so we can pay for whatever you want to do and whatever you want to be when you grow up.'”

Christine Stoll, executive director of IDeal, said the goal of the contest was to give children and parents a meaningful activity to help keep a positive focus on the future and higher education plans during a global pandemic.

“Encouraging students and families to dream big for their futures is a leading value for our IDeal 529 program,” Stoll said in a news release. “As we thought about ways to keep Idaho parents and families engaged during the last two months, we had several families who indicated the art project would be a welcome distraction and a mechanism for parents to continue the discussion with children about future goals, dreams and plans for achieving them.”

Idaho kids who wanted to enter the contest were told to use crayons, watercolors, colored pencils or magic markers and put on paper what they hope the future holds in store for their dream job.

Each week in April, IDeal drew one winner who won $50 towards a 529 college savings account and one grand prize winner received a $100 contribution.

Cora, the soon-to-be first grader participant, was one of dozens of children who submitted a piece of artwork. Cora’s drawing consisted of a dog and two women — one was the pet’s owner and the other was a veterinarian.

“From a teeny tiny age, (she’s) loved animals,” Carly said. “She’s easygoing around animals and they love her, so it’s a good fit for her to be a vet.”

But there is more to IDeal than the contest they held to help students stay focused on their dreams. In 2018, Carly and her husband, Adam, opened two 529 college savings accounts for Cora and one for her younger brother.

It’s something they felt was important to do for their children, and something they want other parents to know about.

“Having that 529 has some tax benefits. You can invest it (and) it’s really flexible on how you use it for education,” she said.

Idahoans who contribute to an IDeal account qualify for a state tax deduction of up to $6,000, or $12,000 if married and filing jointly. In addition, unlike most traditional federal taxes, an IDeal account can grow state and federal tax-deferred, according to a news release.

For more information on IDeal and to view the other drawings that were submitted for the “Draw Your Dream” sweepstakes, click here.