As executive director at ATRS, I serve on the Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee. The plan manages the college saving plan programs for Arkansas. Arkansas has one of the most respected 529 plans due to the ease of application, quality investment options, and special programs. As Arkansas residents, you have even more benefits than participants from out of state who use the Arkansas plan. Please consider using the plan's benefits to help a deserving student open the doors to post-secondary education.

In the last executive director update on the Arkansas' 529 College Savings Plan, I encouraged ATRS members to consider using and to spread the word about the Arkansas 529 plan. I hope the parents and grandparents of students will also consider the incentive for an education a 529 account provides to a student. If you did not get it last time, here is a link back to the first executive director update on the Arkansas 529 College Savings Plan — The GIFT College Investing Plan ("The GIFT Plan") — and its tax advantages and other benefits:

01/05/2010 - The Arkansas 529 Plan

This update will provided information on a special matching grant program offered by the plan.

Do you know an Aspiring Scholar?

There's another important program associated with the Arkansas 529 Plan that I hope you can tell parents and grandparents about: The Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program. In today's economy, hundreds of dollars each year can make a big difference in helping your students — and your own children and grandchildren — afford higher education. In some instances, the plan matches each dollar from the family with two matching dollars from the plan. Others who are eligible may receive a one for one match, up to $500! Helping families afford higher education is the purpose of this program, which is sponsored by the Arkansas Section 529 Plan Review Committee.

Help them get up to $500 extra for college!

Attached to this email is a fact sheet that gives the details of the Program, including who is eligible and how to apply. You can also make multiple copies of the fact sheet to give to students and parents who should learn about this great Program. Help spread the word so that every eligible family has a chance to jump-start their college savings with a MATCHING GRANT. Hundreds of families have already received matching grant funds. In addition, the plan will make a presentation to your school on all the programs sponsored by the Arkansas 529 Plan. Due to the last update, several schools have requested a program presentation in person for their schools. The presentation will include a question and answer session.. Take advantage of this opportunity for a personal presentation at your school!.

Apply now — it's simple!

Applicants have until April 30 to apply for an Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant, so there's no time to lose. You can download an application form at the Plan's website, . The Committee will review all applications and notify families by June 30 about the status of the grant.

If you have questions about the Program, call the Office of the State Treasurer at 501-682-1422.

Don't let the opportunity slip by to help your Aspiring Scholar get the financial help that they deserve.

Matching grants are subject to availability of funds. Our hope is to have more applications this year than in past years.

For more information about The GIFT College Investing Plan call 1-800-587-7301 or visit www.thegiftplan to obtain a Program Description and Participation Agreement. The GIFT College Investing Plan is a college savings program sponsored by the State of Arkansas. Upromise Investments, Inc., which serves as Program Manager, has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Plan, including effecting transactions, and marketing and distributing the Plan. The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as Investment Manager for the Plan.

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to call me on my direct line at (501) 682-1820 or my cell (501) 318-5998 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it In addition, if you use Twitter, you can follow events at ATRS by finding the Twitter ID of ATRS or find George Hopkins in the Twitter directory. On Twitter, you will have access to day-to-day updates on ATRS happenings.

Respectfully; George Hopkins

Click here to view information about the Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant Program.