The Utah Educational Savings Plan and StepUp to Higher Education will mark Gov. Gary Herbert’s declaration of September as College Savings Month in Utah by sponsoring the annual UESP Make Your Mark bookmark contest.

Eight Utah students in kindergarten through 12th grade will each win a $1,000 college savings scholarship account by designing a bookmark.

The winners will be selected by a six-judge panel featuring Utah Gov. Gary Herbert; First Lady Jeanette Herbert; Deneece Huftalin, Ph.D., president, Salt Lake Community College; Tami Pyfer, governor’s education advisor; Donna Jones Morris, division director, Utah State Library; and Julie Olson, Utah author/illustrator.

Judges will select two winning designs from each of four grade categories. In addition to receiving a $1,000 UESP college savings scholarship account, each winner may also see his or her professionally reproduced artwork distributed at UESP events throughout Utah. Contest winners will be notified by mid-October. All decisions by UESP and the judges are final.

The Make Your Mark contest, in its seventh year, advocates the importance of saving for future higher education expenses. Earnings in UESP college savings accounts grow tax-deferred and withdrawals are tax-free if used for eligible expenses such as tuition, mandatory fees, books, computers, and certain room and board costs. Utah tax credits are also available to account owners for contributions made into a UESP account.

Lynne Ward, executive director of UESP, said Make Your Mark is a great way to get families talking about saving for college or technical school.

“Starting college savings early is important,” Ward said, “but it’s never too late to start saving for future higher education expenses. Even small amounts will add up and make a difference toward defraying college costs.”

The contest runs September 1 through September 30, 2016. Utah students are eligible to enter if they are enrolled in a Utah school or are home-schooled. Parents are not required to own a UESP account for their child to enter the contest.

Entrants must submit an original bookmark design on the official entry form. See uesp.org/bookmark for entry form and official contest rules. Only one entry per student is allowed.

UESP must receive all entries no later than September 30, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Submit entries by mail, courier, or hand delivery. Address information and a complete set of contest rules and restrictions are detailed on the back of the official entry form at uesp.org/bookmark.

The contest is not open to past winners or children of an adult employed or affiliated with the Utah State Board of Regents, Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, UESP, StepUp to Higher Education, or their advertising agencies.