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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Treasurer Cowell Pushes Education Endowment

RALEIGH, N.C. – State Treasurer Janet Cowell today called on the General Assembly to pass an education endowment proposal that would increase funding for student scholarships and help create jobs in our state. The measure would allow up to 10% of the state’s Unclaimed Property (Escheat) Fund to be invested in high-growth venture capital opportunities centered in North Carolina.

“Educating our youth and creating jobs to compete in a global economy requires innovation,” Cowell said. “We have an opportunity in front of us to create an educational endowment that will accomplish both of these goals.”

The Treasurer’s proposal is House Bill 301, introduced Wednesday by Representatives Jeff Collins, Stephen Ross, Paul Tine and Harry Warren. Cowell wrote to all House members today urging support and asking the General Assembly to protect the Unclaimed Property Fund’s principal, which has been drawn down in recent years. The Fund’s balance was $438 million at the end of Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

“Currently, the Fund’s interest is the state’s only designated source for scholarship monies. By investing the assets of the Fund in long-term investments that garner higher returns, we can both ensure the long-term stability of the funding source for student scholarships and help reverse the trend of lagging venture investment,” Cowell said.

Read the letter here

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The Unclaimed Property Division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer returned more than $60 million in unclaimed cash in FY 2014. Unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, stocks, bonds and other property types that have been abandoned due to a loss of communication or oversight. North Carolinians can search for unclaimed property at www.nccash.com.