Tulsa fourth-grader wins college savings sweepstakes
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 4:12 AM
OWASSO - As a baby, Addison Barnes was lulled to sleep to the University of Oklahoma fight song.
Going to college is something she's always seen in her future.
"We always talked to her about it so it's more or less been an expectation," said her father, Jason Barnes. "She's never understood that she's had a choice."
That's why they started saving early through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan.
Their preparedness is already paying off.
Addison, a fourth-grade student at Barnes Elementary, was one of six winners in a Kids on College Survey Sweepstakes, which State Treasurer Ken Miller announced recently.
The sweepstakes survey was a partnership between the OCSP and Gap stores in Oklahoma in an effort to encourage students to think about how much college really costs and what can be done to start saving.
Addison was randomly selected to receive $529 toward her college savings account and her school received $529 for its music program.
Music teacher Charles Emerson was happy with the surprise contribution, which he said will be used to purchase percussion instruments.
The survey found that only about 42 percent of children were aware that the average cost of tuition a year is more than $15,000. By 2021, when students like Addison are 18, those costs more than double.
Stacey Turner, Addison's mother, explained how the savings program works in Addison's classroom last week, which sparked a discussion among the children about other ways to prepare for college, such as developing good study habits, staying out of trouble and becoming better readers.
Addison replied that "I want a big house" in response to the survey's open-ended question on why she wanted to go to college.
The reason for the big house is so that she can have lots of animals. Addison was quick to point out that she won't, however, be a "crazy cat woman."
She has mentioned being a veterinarian. She also is interested in art.
Addison comes from a long line of OU graduates. Her father, of course, graduated from OU, and at any given time, there are usually several members of the extended family attending OU, Barnes said.
"I think it's going to be pretty exciting there," Addison said of college. "I wonder what it will be like. I'll ask my dad."
Sitting at a library table at her school, she added: "I really hope they have a library bigger than this."
There are close to 48,000 accounts in the state's 529 College Savings Plan, which started in April 2000. The plan has more than $489 million in total assets, according to the treasurer's office.
For more information on the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan, visit the web site at tulsaworld.com/collegesavings or call 1-877-654-7284.
About 529 College Savings Plan
Original Print Headline: Owasso fourth-grade student winner of kids college survey
- Contributions are tax deductible up to $10,000 for individual taxpayers and up to $20,000 for joint returns
- Contributions are federal and state income-tax deferred
- Distributions of funds are not taxed when used to fund student expenses at most institutions of higher learning which includes private or public universities, colleges or career technology centers
- The funds can be used for tuition or qualified expenses such as fees, books, supplies and certain room and board costs.
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
Fourth-grader Addison Barnes, one of six winners of the Kids on College Survey Sweepstakes, laughs at a comment made by a student in class on Thursday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World