Treasurer launches SMART529 gift card program at Marshall

November 18, 2018
Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert, right, and West Virginia state Treasurer John Perdue, left, stand with Denise Napier and her 8-year-old son, Isaac, after introducing the SMART529 Gift Card on Friday at Drinko Library in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Giving a gift to last a lifetime — the gift of education — is now a little easier as a result of a new gift card program launched by the West Virginia Treasurer’s Office.

Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert and state Treasurer John Perdue introduced the new college gift card program at Marshall’s Drinko Library Atrium on Friday afternoon.

“The holiday season is a perfect time to give the gift of college,” Perdue said. “The new SMART529 gift card makes it a lot easier for parents and grandparents saving for a child’s college education.”

Perdue says the new gift cards can be purchased at select Target stores or on the SMART529 website. Currently, the gift cards are available at Target stores in Charleston, Morgantown and Bridgeport, but Perdue says his office is working on getting them in Target stores in the Tri-State area before Christmas.

“Instead of buying another toy, families can purchase a new SMART529 gift card for any student and can be redeemed on SMART529′s website through an existing account or after a new account is established,” he said.

Gilbert said there is no better gift than the gift of contributing to a child’s education fund.

“Whether you are at one of these Target stores or go online, we know that is a very easy and efficient way to purchase and redeem these new gift cards,” Gilbert said. “I truly believe it’s going to get more people involved in contributing to children’s education plans.”

Gilbert said he has a SMART529 account for his granddaughter.

“I have had it for her for a couple years now, and it’s a tremendous way to plan for her future,” he said.

Denise Napier, of Barboursville, said she has SMART529 accounts for both her children. Her 8-year-old son, Isaac, recently won $500 in the SMART529′s “When I Grow Up” essay contest.

“He wants to be an engineer and attend Marshall University,” Napier said.

Isaac said his essay was about the things he wanted to build when he grows up and becomes an engineer.

“I want to build a car, a house and a hospital,” he said.

“He wants to build something to drive, somewhere to live and something to help people,” his mom said.

Perdue established the SMART529 program more than a decade ago.

“It’s now a $2.5 billion program with over 40,000 kids,” he said.

For information about the program, visit online at www.smart529.com or call the SMART529 call center tollfree at 866-574-3542. Questions concerning gift card purchase or redemption should be directed to Gift of College at 877-244-6630.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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