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‘Big Chairs’ unveiled at Metroparks to promote Michigan Education Trust savings plans for students’ future

Pre-school children from a local day care facility shared a newly installed giant wooden chair with 2023 Miss Michigan Maya Schuhknecht during Michigan Education Trust’s “Sit with MET” event Wednesday at Kensington Metropark to promote Michigan’s Section 529 prepaid tuition educational savings plan.

MET Executive Director Diane Brewer kicked off the event, which coincided with National 529 Day, by telling children from Rosebrook Child Development Center in Wixom and parents that “MET wants to help your family and families all over Michigan save money so you and other kids can be whatever they want to be when they grow up.”

She added, “MET wants your families to know that the gift of learning begins with reading in the same way that the gift of education begins with saving for school and there’s no place more fun to read than in a giant chair in the park.”

Since it was signed into law more than 35 years ago as Michigan’s Section 529 prepaid tuition program, MET’s objective has been to help families financially prepare for their children’s educational future by prepurchasing future tuition at today’s rates.

The installation of the oversized Adirondack chair at Kensington Metropark and another one at Lake St. Clair Metropark are part of a new sponsorship arrangement between MET and Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

“As we focus on expanding supplemental science learning, field trips and other educational programs through our Metroparks and Me initiative, I am reminded of the similar focus that MET has to expand education opportunities for students in Michigan,” said Jim O’Brien, Metropark’s district superintendent. “We are honored to have MET as one of our sponsors this year and excited to house this giant and creative chair here at Kensington and Lake St. Clair Metropark this summer for visitors to enjoy.”

As part the program, Miss Michigan 2023 Schuhknecht memorialized the unveiling in a painting she created as the children looked on. Schuhknecht is a professional artist and speed painter. She is the first pageant winner to highlight speed painting in the talent portion of the scholarship contest.

“I went to college to become an artist,” Schuhknecht told the children. “I am living my dream and I want all of you and other children to live your dreams with help from the Michigan Education Trust.”

MET is offering financial incentives to new and existing customers from now to May 31, 2024. See rules and eligibility requirements.

Additionally, MET holds events periodically throughout the state to provide attendees the opportunity to purchase a MET contract. Representatives from MET are available at the events to help educate people on the features and benefits of each plan and offer tips to parents, grandparents and others on saving for college. MET also offers one-on-one consultation sessions for those unable to attend one of the events.

Investing with MET

MET contracts can be opened by purchasing as little as one credit hour, and anyone can contribute to a child’s education savings plan, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and others. With a Pay-As-You-Go plan, once the plan is opened, contributions can be as low as $25.

The 529 plan also has tax advantages. For instance, distributions from MET are not taxed by the state or federal government when it comes time to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Michigan residents who are MET contract holders can also claim a state tax deduction on the total contributions they make during a calendar year.

Contributions to an existing account can be made at any time during the year through MET’s secure online pay site. MET gift declarations also allow contributors to print out certificates of their contributions designed for holidays, birthdays, graduations and more that can be put in a card or gift wrapped.

More information about MET is available at or 800-MET-4-KID (800-638-4543).