Dave Maxwell Linda English, left, Deputy State Treasurer for College Savings, and Sage, the desert tortoise mascot for the program. They visited Pahranagat Valley and Caliente Elementary schools this week as part of a statewide tour promoting early college savings programs.

Dave Maxwell
Linda English, left, Deputy State Treasurer for College Savings, and Sage, the desert tortoise mascot for the program. They visited Pahranagat Valley and Caliente Elementary schools this week as part of a statewide tour promoting early college savings programs.

Elementary students in Alamo and Caliente met Sage, the Nevada State Treasurer’s college savings mascot, on Tuesday.

The treasurer’s office is on a statewide bus tour this week in rural Nevada to promote programs it offers help Nevadans pay for college.

“Far too many Nevadans overlook the opportunity to get a college education,” said Dan Schwartz, Nevada State Treasurer, in prepared remarks. “We believe that an education plan after high school including a degree from a 4-year institution or 2-year community college or trade school will be essential for success in the 21st century.”

The tour stopped at the Pahranagat Valley and Caliente elementary schools and gave a presentation during a special assembly for kindergarten, first and second graders. Schwartz did not attend personally, but was represented by Linda English, Deputy Treasurer for College Savings out of the Las Vegas branch office.

The treasurer’s office provides several college savings options, and most are highly ranked nationally. “We’re also introducing Sage, our college savings mascot, who will accompany the bus,” English said.

The emphasis of the program is to promote the college savings idea in Nevada that was started about 20 years ago. “(Dan) Schwartz took office in January and he is passionately committed about higher education in children,” English explained. “Under his leadership, we got Sage, our college savings desert tortoise mascot, for all of the plans the state offers and we are using him to really engage with the children in school assemblies and TV public service announcements. The earlier we can get children and their families talking about college and starting an account now, the better,”

The response to the tour has been very positive. English said last week the tour visited schools in Las Vegas, “and the kids there were just as excited as the kids here.”

She added, “There are a number of programs the treasurer’s office administers that are really meant to help a family to afford a college education, including the prepaid tuition plan, the college kick-start plan, and the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship program.”

The bus tour is expected to attend the Eureka Harvest Festival this weekend, then continue on to Carson City and visit other parts of the state until the middle of November.

In his prepared statement Schwartz said, “Nevada has incredible college savings plans with unique benefits for Nevada residents. My hope is that once people discover our programs, more will take advantage of them. Saving for college is just as important as good grades in preparing for higher education.”