No matter how old our children are, most of us can agree – saving for college can be overwhelming.

Each birthday or milestone is a reminder of how quickly time passes and how soon our children will be making the next step to higher education. It’s especially true for parents of high school freshmen, like some of us here at MyConnecticutKids. As they grow, so does the pressure to grow their savings for college so they can have a successful future.

The good news is there are a lot of ways to help our children be ready for college. As a dad himself, State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden understands the importance of saving for college; and as Trustee for Connecticut’s Higher Education Trust (CHET) the state’s 529 college savings plan, he is committed to helping Connecticut families find affordable ways to pay for college.

Families can reduce the cost of getting a degree with some smart savings and by taking advantage of ways to get help. Scholarships and grants are an excellent option for students and families. They don’t need to be repaid, and every dollar saved or earned is less money students need to borrow in loans. While many students don’t look for scholarships until their senior year of high school, there are many programs available to younger students, which offer the advantage of giving those funds time to grow.

Right now, CHET is providing families with two unique opportunities to boost their college savings:

CHET Advance Scholarship for High School Freshman – Deadline: March 12, 2020

  • CHET will award over $500,000 statewide to Connecticut’s youngest high school students. Freshmen could receive up to a $2,023 (their graduation year!) scholarship, plus a potential $500 match. More information is available at, and students can also talk to their guidance counselor.

CHET Dream Big! Competition for Grades K-8 – Deadline: March 31, 2020 

  • CHET has just launched the 2020 CHET Dream Big! Competition, a drawing and essay competition, for K-8th grade students that offers the chance to receive up to a $1,000 CHET Account. Learn more at

Beyond those programs, the opportunity to save through a CHET account is available year-round and offers many tax advantages. Saving early and asking other family members to contribute for birthdays, holidays or grade-moving-up ceremonies, can also impact growth over time.

As our kids grow, knowing they have money saved for college can motivate them to work hard and pursue their goals. When the time comes, they can use those CHET funds towards tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses at accredited, nonprofit post-secondary educational institutions, including vocational and technical schools. 

Additional tips and advice on ways to plan ahead and reduce college expenses are also available at:

Author: genesis2018mck

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