Press Releases

Event to highlight savings, reducing student debt

Beloved children’s character Daniel Tiger will be a special guest at Tiny Tales Story Time for two sessions on Thursday, June 13 at the Clay Center, as part of a SMART529 College Savings Plan event to raise awareness about saving for college and eliminating student debt.

State Treasurer John Perdue, who administers the state’s SMART529 College Savings Program, will read a story to children at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Juliet Art Museum at the Clay Center. Special guest Daniel Tiger will join him for a meet and greet with children during the event. Daniel Tiger is a Fred Rogers Productions/PBS character whose show airs on PBS member station West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

In addition to the story and special guests, financial education activities will be on-hand for children and information on SMART529 and college savings will be available to parents. The event is free with general admission to the Clay Center.

The State Treasurer’s SMART529 College Savings Program has joined with the College Savings Plan Network (CSPN) and Fred Rogers Productions for a national campaign to tackle the student debt problem.

The campaign’s message will air before and after episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood nationally, including on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The series is one of the highest co-viewed children’s shows between parents and young children and is based on characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with our youth,” Treasurer Perdue said. “We need to talk about saving and financial wellness at an early age. I’m excited to team up with Daniel Tiger and the Clay Center to help spread that message.”

The national CSPN awareness campaign is a multi-state effort to limit college debt for new generations by helping families plan ahead for higher education costs.

“Since starting West Virginia’s SMART529 program more than a decade ago, my goal has always been clear: to give every child in West Virginia a chance to benefit from some sort of education beyond high school,” said Treasurer Perdue. “Creating awareness about the benefits of saving for higher education is an ongoing effort, but I believe this national campaign will elevate the conversation about saving for college to a new level.”

The 27-state alliance, which includes Washington D.C., involves 46 partners, including state treasurers, higher education agencies, financial service firms and other state officials. The public-private partnership was formed on the basis of increasing awareness of 529s, college savings plans designed to help families save for higher education and lessen reliance on student loans. Follow the progression of this campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on the Daniel Tiger event and SMART529 visit

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West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
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Charleston, West Virginia 25305
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