College scholarships used to encourage COVID vaccinations

Baton Rouge – Louisianans who have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are between the ages of 12 and 17 may enter to win one of nine $100,000 educational scholarships. The scholarships are part of Louisiana’s Shot At A Million reward program, offered by the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Bring Back Louisiana campaign to increase awareness of COVID-19 vaccines and reward those who have at least one vaccine.
Each Friday in July (beginning July 14), a winner will be drawn (see graphic below). Five scholarship winners will be drawn on August 6, 2021, with an announcement on August 13.
Scholarship funds will be deposited by LDH into a Student Tuition and Revenue Trust (START) Saving Program account. The START Saving Program is administered by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) under the direction of the Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority. These college savings accounts will be known as a Shot At A Million (SAAM) START Saving account with the winner/recipient named as the beneficiary.
If a parent already has a START account and their child wins one of the scholarships, a new account will need to be opened. The child will be the owner and the beneficiary of the new account, with the parent as the custodian. Once the child turns 18, he/she will have control of the account. Funds will be disbursed for qualified higher education expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies.
For the Bring Back Louisiana campaign, a SAAM START Saving plan must be created by the winner (or winner’s parents/legal guardian) within 90 days of the scholarship announcement. Failure to open an account will result in forfeiture of the entire prize. The State of Louisiana will pay estimated federal and state taxes on the scholarship on behalf of the scholarship winner.
Minor students who win a scholarship through this campaign and are later found eligible for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), will be able to use TOPS to pay part of their tuition and apply this scholarship toward other education expenses. Scholarship dollars from this campaign may also be used for graduate or professional school, or for apprenticeship programs or dual enrollment (college classes taken for both high school and college credit). Winnings can also be used to pay up to $10,000 in student loan debt.
If a current college student (18 or older) wins one of the campaigns’ $100,000 cash prizes, it will not impact their TOPS award because TOPS is not an income-based program.
To register for the Shot At A Million reward program, click here.
To read more about the official rules for the program, click here.
To read more about the SAAM START account, click here.

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