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Go Ask Mom

Crawling babies to be part of half-time show at Carolina-N.C. State basketball game! How your baby can participate, win college cash

Posted January 11, 2018 5:56 p.m. EST

Courtesy: NC529.org

College might seem a long way off if you're cuddling a little baby in your arms right now. But, believe it or not, those years are going to fly by, and those arms will be giving that grown baby one more hug before you drop her off at college.

In other words, it's never too early to start saving for college, say the folks at the College Foundation of North Carolina. And, to hammer home the point, they are sponsoring a really adorable event during half time of the Carolina and N.C. State men's basketball game on Jan. 27 at Chapel Hill.

The NC 529 Diapers to Dorms Dash will feature teeny little babies, who are able to crawl, but not walk, creeping across the basketball court for a chance to win $529 in an NC 529 College Savings Account.

What's a 529 account? They are specially designated accounts that allow money to be invested for qualified educational expenses, typically college expenses. Any earnings on the account are tax free from federal and state taxes in North Carolina.

Here are the contest details:

  • The contest is accepting entries from families with babies aged 6 to 12 months, who are crawling. Entries may be made by posting a photo of the child via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using the hashtag #NC529Dash. Entrants should either post their photos on NC529 social media accounts, or on their own accounts so long as their posts are publicly viewable. Dash participants will be randomly selected from entries.
  • The winner of the NC 529 Diapers to Dorms Dash will receive $529 in a NC 529 account to kick start college savings. The other crawlers won’t go home empty handed, but will receive $25 in NC 529 accounts as well.
  • Entries are accepted through Jan. 19. Five children will be chosen at random to participate.
  • More information is at NC529.org or NC529's Facebook page.

The contest is adorable. Check out the YouTube video of the first Diapers to Dorms Dash, which was last month.

Laura Morgan, vice president of communications, savings and legal affairs for the College Foundation, says there are a variety of reasons why they encourage parents to start saving early.

"The cost of college can be overwhelming, and if you give yourself some time to save, you get not only the time to put money away, you can take advantage of any market gains or interest based on the investments you choose," Morgan said.

Yet, most parents don't start saving until kids start school. Based on the last three years, the average new NC 529 account was opened for a child between the ages of 5 and 6. That means that parents lost out on years of potential savings. And, said Morgan, every little bit helps. So, even just $25 a month will result in savings that will help kids down the road.

What's more, Morgan said, 529 accounts offer a great alternative for grandparents, who are looking for gift ideas for their grandkids.

"It's a great place to point family members who might want to get another big loud plastic toy to clutter your living room," she said. "Maybe you can encourage them to ... give the gift of college."

NC529.org has more information.