Financial Literacy 'Personal Finance Challenge' 2014
Treasurer Stenberg Announces Winning Teams in Finance Challenge
Competition; $11,000 in NEST College Savings Plans to Be Awarded
Norris High School winning team members, from left Terrell Rose, Cameron Walker, Cole Johnson, and Nolan Graham with State Treasurer Don Stenberg and Jennifer Davidson with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
Norris High School winning team members, from left Terrell Rose, Cameron Walker, Cole Johnson, and Nolan Graham with State Treasurer Don Stenberg and Jennifer Davidson with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.

Students from Norris High School and Alliance High School took first and second place respectively today at the Personal Finance Challenge competition in Lincoln and Kearney. The competition is sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced the winners Saturday in Lincoln. He said each member of the two winning teams will receive a college savings account scholarship through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST). Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program.

Members of the first-place Norris High School teams are Cole Johnson, Nolan Graham, Cam Walker, and Terrell Rose. Their teacher is Justin McGill. Members of the second-place team from Alliance High School are Roy Kesterson, Milton Dubs, and Ryan Waggener. Their teacher is Susan Dimmitt.

Each member of the first-place team will receive a $2,000 NEST scholarship savings account, and each member of the second-place team each will receive a $1,000 NEST savings account. The first-place team will go on to represent Nebraska at the National Finance Challenge competition May 2 in St. Louis, Mo.

“I was impressed with the students’ presentation skills and their understanding of financial issues facing families today. Their responses to the hypothetical financial problems they were presented with were practical, reasonable, and creative. The students themselves were confident, articulate, and knowledgeable, all qualities that will serve them well as they continue their education and prepare for successful careers and community service,” said Treasurer Stenberg, who was a judge at the Lincoln competition.

“As the chief financial officer of the state, I am committed to helping young people attain a greater understanding of personal finance so that, as adults, they will be smart consumers and investors and will be able to contribute to the economic well-being of our state. One way my office demonstrates that commitment is by providing significant scholarships for winning teams in the annual Personal Finance Challenge,” Stenberg said.

A total of 10 teams competed Saturday at the face-to-face regional competitions in Lincoln and Kearney. Each team prepared and presented a plan in response to a hypothetical family financial situation. The competitions took place at the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and at the West Center Building at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

First-place teams were selected at each of the two regional competition sites. The two teams that placed first in the regional events were then ranked first and second statewide, based on preliminary online tests taken earlier at each team’s home school. The preliminary online test focused on money management, spending, credit, savings, and investing.

The scholarships awarded to Finance Challenge winners are part of a broader initiative introduced a year ago by Treasurer Stenberg. Another part of the initiative is the new Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars online educational program, developed by EverFi, Inc., of Washington, D.C., and made available to all high schools in the state at no charge to students, schools, or taxpayers. EverFi is continuing to work with banks, foundations, and corporations to secure additional funding for the statewide program.

The financial literacy initiative also is intended to promote greater awareness of NEST and how Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings plans can help parents and grandparents prepare for the cost of higher education for their children and grandchildren, Stenberg said.

Jennifer Davidson, director of programs and community development for the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, said 52 middle school teams competed in the preliminary round of the Finance Challenge competition this year and 182 teams competed in the preliminary round of the high school competition.

“The Finance Challenge is an opportunity for students to use what they have learned in the classroom in a fun and meaningful way. There is nothing like a competition to get students engaged in their own education,” Davidson said. “The college savings plan contributions provided by Treasurer Stenberg’s office are a great incentive for students to learn and apply important financial literacy concepts.”

The council is a non-profit organization that sponsors education programs, courses and teacher workshops to improve students’ economic and financial literacy. It is housed at UNL and has centers at UNK, UNO, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College.

The following teams took part in Saturday’s competition.

  • Lincoln – Johnson-Brock High School (three teams), Norris High School, and Lincoln Christian High School.
  • Kearney – Sutherland Public School, Alliance High School (two teams), Chadron High School, and Mitchell High School.

About NEST

NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the Bloomwell 529 Education Savings Plan, and the State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. Union Bank & Trust Company serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 285,000 accounts, including over 94,000 in Nebraska. Visit and for more information.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* · No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee · May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Static Investment Option Underlying Investment
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