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Grant program gives newborn babies $100 toward college savings

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s never too early to start saving for college, according to West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue, who introduced a new program Monday to assist newborns with college savings.

The SMART529 College Savings Plan will give new babies, living in West Virginia, $100 toward their future education.

“When babies are born, the mother and father have so much on their plate. They’re not thinking about a college education. What we realized is if we can get them started at a very young age, they will continue to put that money in,” said Perdue following the unveiling of the plan at Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Hospital.

West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue visits newborn babies at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital Monday.
West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue visited newborn babies at CAMC Women and Children’s Hospital Monday.

According to the Bright Babies Grant Program, any child born after January, 1, 2015 who has not celebrated their first birthday is eligible. Adopted children can also claim the $100 grant.

“In the first year of adopting that child, you can get the $100 to invest in that education,” Perdue said. “I think that’s very important that we’re reaching out to the adoption community to make them realize they’re part of the SMART529 Plan as well.”

Perdue said the grant can be put toward any type of education including trade schools, community colleges and more — not just a four-year college.

“It can be put toward welding school, trucking school, community colleges, all different kinds of education, but they have to have certifications for that, an education for that and training for that. That money can go for that purpose,” he said.

Perdue toured the hospital in Charleston as well as the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital in Morgantown to inform new mothers about the program.

To open a SMART529 account and to learn more about the program, visit or call 866-574-3542.

SMART529 is West Virginia’s 529 savings program for education following high school.

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