WINOOSKI - May 29 is national "529 Day," and VHEIP (Vermont's 529 College Savings Plan) invites parents to launch their own 529 plan this month.

All parents can enter to win one of two $529 contributions to a Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan account. One boy and one girl will be selected and will each receive a $529 contribution.

"We want to encourage parents to open a VHEIP account and get started early to save for college. If parents start saving through a VHEIP account when their child is young, they can reduce the financial burden of paying for college later," said Scott Giles, president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corp (VSAC), which administers the state's 529 College Savings Plan.

"The ideal time to begin saving is between birth and age five in order to allow your investment to build over time," he added.

Parents can enter to win at www.vheip.org

The two winning families will be selected by random drawing.

In order to increase awareness of the importance of saving for college, VHEIP will also offer a newborn 'goody bag' through participating hospitals to parents of newborns born in May. The bag contains a piggy bank, and information on VHEIP. In addition, the first baby born at a participating hospital on May 29 will receive $529 in a VHEIP account.

Also, parents of newborns can encourage family and friends to contribute to their child's VHEIP account through e-gifting.

"Family and friends can make significant contributions to a child's college savings account over time through birthday, holiday and graduation gifts. E-gifting makes it easy to contribute to a VHEIP account online and loved ones will appreciate the valuable gift, which lasts a lifetime," Giles said.

About VHEIP: The VHEIP 529 college savings plan was established in 1999 and is Vermont's only state-sponsored 529 plan. VHEIP is administered by the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc.

For more information about VHEIP, visit www.vheip.org or call the customer service center at (800) 637-5860.

About VSAC: Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is a public, nonprofit corporation created by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters plan and pay for education or training beyond high school. VSAC administers Vermont's 529 college savings plan; outreach services to encourage low-income students to aspire to and complete college; college and career planning services for all Vermonters; need-based state grants for full-time, part-time and non-degree study; public and private scholarship programs; and private education loans.

For more information, visit www.vsac.org.