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Tenth annual back-to-school essay contest off and running
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TOPEKA — Seventh and eighth grade students across Kansas can showcase their creativity in the 10th annual Learning Quest Essay Contest. The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program is Kansas’ state-sponsored 529 plan, designed to help families invest for their child’s continued education after high school.

"We’d love to see a record number of entries," said Kansas State Treasurer and Learning Quest Program Administrator Ron Estes. "This year, we’re challenging our seventh and eighth grade students to think about their futures by interviewing someone they know about the impact higher education has had on that person’s life and then consider their own future career and how higher education might help them reach their goals."

The contest, open to all seventh and eighth grade students in Kansas, begins mid-August and all entries must be postmarked by Oct. 14. To learn more and download participation materials, visit the contest website

"We want our students to realize the importance of post-high school education, whether at a traditional four-year college, community college or vocational/technical college," said Estes. "We also want to encourage Kansas families to start saving now to meet the challenge of paying for that education. Learning Quest is a convenient way for them to start."

Prizes include $1,000 and $500 Learning Quest accounts for one winner and one runner-up, respectively, from each grade level. One randomly selected participant will receive a $529 account. And, to celebrate the contest’s 10th anniversary, one randomly selected participating school will win a special prize from Learning Quest — $1 for each entry submitted statewide, up to $5,000.

The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program to help families save for a traditional four-year college, community college, or technical and vocational school. Learning Quest investors benefit from tax deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified education expenses (tax benefits may be conditioned on meeting certain requirements). Kansas taxpayers can receive a Kansas tax deduction up to $3,000 per child ($6,000 if married, filing jointly) on contributions to Learning Quest or any other state-sponsored 529 plan.

Last year, more than 1,500 essays were received from 72 teachers at 67 schools across the state.