Peoria girl wins $529 for 529 Day

Anastasia Phares won her prize on 529 Day. (Submitted photo)

The Arizona Family College Savings Program (AZ 529) recently presented two giant checks in the amount of $529 to the latest young recipients of future college savings plans.

Peoria resident Anastasia Phares, 5, is one such recipient.

Phares aspires to become a doctor when she gets older. Her prize was sponsored by the College Savings Bank, one of the financial providers for the AZ 529.

The event was held at the Phoenix Children’s Museum to celebrate the occasion and highlight national 529 Day (held annually on May 29) for friends and family of the winners, along with the general public and media.

The youth were honored with oversized checks, photos with 529 mascot “Penny,” and a day filled with free festivities at the Phoenix Children’s Museum.

According to a College Savings Plans Network survey, only 20% of Americans understand how a 529 college savings plan works. AZ 529 wanted to shed some light on its program by hosting the event and awarding Phares a $529 head start to her college savings plan on 529 Day.

“Knowing that we have a chance to give her the opportunity to go to college when she gets older means everything,” said Sonya Ramos, Phares’ mom. “I want to be able to give her the world and every opportunity to reach any goal she has. So, winning the $529 gives us hope that we will be able to provide our daughter with the education she needs to accomplish any goal her heart desires.”

The AZ 529 is a state-managed program, offering a tax-advantaged way to put money aside for college. Participants of the program receive a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction, up to $2,000 or $4,000 depending on filing status. Money earned over time will be tax-free if used for a variety of educational expenses and can be used at accredited schools around the country. Funds can be used for all levels of education, from vocational and trade schools to community colleges and traditional four-year colleges and universities.

In addition to the check presentation for Phares, AZ 529 announced the winners of its annual coloring contest on May 29. Three more $529 college savings plans were awarded to children across the Valley based on their winning “Picture Yourself After College” artwork entries — and three additional honorable mentions received $200 each in AZ 529 college savings plans to boot.

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