Smart Start Awards enter 4th year
September is observed as National College Savings Month. For some, like children who spend the early years of their life in the foster care system, having money for college can feel impossible.
According to Mission West Virginia, there are approximately 6,680 children in foster care in West Virginia. In Federal Fiscal Year 2017, West Virginia finalized 1,159 adoptions statewide.
The State Treasurer’s Office partnered with Mission West Virginia and its Frameworks program four years ago to create the Smart Start Awards Program. The program has provided $37,200 in scholarships to 31 children through the establishment of SMART529 accounts on their behalf.
Money is raised each May through the SMART5.29K run/walk in Charleston. Through application and selection process administered by Mission West Virginia, families who have adopted children out of foster care are awarded proceeds from the race in the form of SMART529 accounts. A reception and activities at The Clay Center is held to present the awards and honor the families.
Families who think they might meet the criteria and are interested in applying can visit www.missionwv.org/awards. A button to download the application is immediately below the criteria on the Frameworks website.
The official criteria:
◾Applications are due Oct. 1, 2018
◾Child must be a resident of West Virginia
◾Child must be 12 or younger as of Oct. 1, 2018
◾Child must be adopted from the West Virginia foster care system with finalized adoption at time of application
SMART529 is West Virginia’s officially sanctioned college savings program.