The leading voice for excellence in public finance
The leading voice for excellence in public finance

Thought Leadership Thursday

Bridging Gaps in College Savings

Zach Conine

Thought Leadership Thursday Article

Bridging Gaps in College Savings
September 28, 2023
State Treasurer
State of Nevada

Dear Colleagues,

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the value of post-secondary education has never been more evident. It equips students and their families with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities that can transform their lives and the communities in which they live. In Nevada, ensuring that this transformative advantage reaches diverse populations is a constant challenge. To bridge the gap, the College Savings division must develop innovative initiatives to inform and engage families about the importance and value of post-secondary education.

Students often face unique barriers when it comes to pursuing post-secondary education. Unfortunately, they do not know what they don’t know. Barriers like financial constraints, lack of information about available resources, cultural misconceptions, and systemic inequalities. As a division, our small but mighty team is charged with finding a way to start the college conversation.  Initiatives like the State Treasurer’s Art Contest allow our team to proactively engage and inform students, families, and educators about the value of post-secondary education and the role our office is positioned to play on their journey.

Next month, our Office will kick off the third annual "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up" art contest. From now until Friday, October 13, 2023, students from Pre-K through 12th grade will enter for a chance to win $1,000 deposited into a Nevada sponsored 529 college savings account.

Our Office is thrilled to announce the third annual "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up" art contest and provide students with a platform to showcase their artistic talents while taking a step towards securing their futures. I look forward to seeing the inspiring artwork that our students will submit.

Students are permitted to use any medium of their choice, but we want students and their families to start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up and how they plan to get there. The contest is made possible through in-kind contributions from the Future Path 529 Plan, a Nevada-sponsored college savings program, and is part of our mission to help Nevadans plan, save, and pay for post-secondary education.

Over the last two years, this contest has provided our office with an opportunity to connect and educate families across the state on the importance of post-secondary education. We have been able to help many of these families start saving for the first time and we have now established a trusted relationship with these students. It is our sincere hope that this is only the beginning. We want to continue to assist these students on their post-secondary journey and beyond.

The importance of reaching diverse populations with information about the value of post-secondary education cannot be overstated. I believe that innovative approaches are essential to breaking down barriers, dispelling misconceptions, and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to transform their lives through education. By being innovative, embracing technology, fostering partnerships, and tailoring outreach efforts, we can create a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape that empowers individuals from all walks of life to seize the opportunities that higher education offers. Moving forward, let us collectively work towards a future where education is truly accessible to all.

I also wanted to take a moment to state how thrilled I am that Nevada is hosting the NAST Annual Conference next week. Please feel free to visit to view the conference schedule, and I cannot wait to see everybody here!


Zach Conine
Nevada State Treasurer
Executive Board Member, CSPN

NAST Thought Leader Thursday banner