Alaska 529 announces its 12th $25,000 scholarship account winner
December 8, 2021
Alaska 529 announced Dec. 8 that Kiana Norton, of Kotzebue, has won its annual $25,000 scholarship account giveaway. The 23-year-old is the first person off the road system in Alaska to win the annual scholarship account giveaway.
Kiana was notified that she won during a surprise Zoom session at the UAF Chukchi Campus, coordinated by Alaska 529, the campus, and her parents. The date of the meeting happened to fall on Kiana’s birthday. As a college student currently taking a semester off, she was delighted to learn about the unexpected financial windfall. "I was going through a really tough time at my current college and winning this has taken a huge load off my shoulders and opened up a lot more options." When asked what prompted her to start her Alaska 529 account in the first place, she said, "I was already saving my PFDs for college expenses so saving with Alaska 529 just felt like a natural choice." Kiana may use the account at any college, university, vocational or technical school that accepts federal financial aid.
“The giveaway is one of our favorite annual activities. The winners are always so excited to receive such a significant boost to their education savings, and I’m equally delighted to plan the announcement and inform the winner. It is a fun way to give Alaska families an additional incentive to save their PFDs for future education expenses and reinforce a college-going culture,” said Lael Oldmixon, executive director of Alaska 529. “I’m happy this will help Kiana on her way, just as many of our past winners have already used their scholarship accounts for higher education.”
Alaska 529 has offered the scholarship account giveaway each year for the last 12 years to provide Alaska families an additional reason to save their PFDs for higher education expenses. All Permanent Fund Dividend applicants who choose to contribute half their dividend to an Alaska 529 account are entered in the giveaway. This year, more than 14,000 applicants were eligible for the drawing. The scholarship account is funded by the Education Trust of Alaska.