College scholarship program available for high school freshmen

State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, trustee of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust, has announced the annual CHET Advance Scholarship will focus this year exclusively on high school freshmen.

The scholarship was created to help Connecticut families save and pay for the rising cost of a college education, according to a news release. Since the launch of the scholarship in 2013, a total of $3 million has been given to students.

"CHET is dedicated to helping Connecticut families find ways to afford college," Wooden said in a statement. "By offering a scholarship program to our youngest high schoolers in New London County and across the state, we're allowing account contributions more time to grow so by the time students start to draw on these accounts, compounding interest has had a chance to do its job."

This year, 160 students in the Class of 2023 will be eligible for up to a $2,023 initial account contribution with a match of $500 if they save an additional $500 in a CHET account by December of their senior year. To receive the scholarship, students are required to interview a community, civic or government leader and complete a series of questions as part of their application.

Additionally, there will be a nonmerit category that students may choose to enter. Recipients will receive an initial account contribution of up to $1,250, with a match of $500 if they save an additional $500 in a CHET account by December of their senior year.

For the first time, there will be a category specifically for students attending the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System.

CHET funds can be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses at accredited, nonprofit post-secondary educational institutions, including vocational and technical schools.

The application period for CHET Advance Scholarship changed this year, moving from the fall to the winter/spring. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. More information, official rules and an application are available at CHET Advance Scholarship website, chetadvance.com.

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