State Treasurer Don Stenberg today urged high school students in Wayne and across Nebraska to take part in the 2015 Personal Finance Challenge sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), a division of the State Treasurer’s Office, will award a total of $14,000 to the Personal Finance Challenge winners, who usually compete in teams of four. Members of the first-place team will each receive a $2,000 contribution to a NEST college savings account. Members of the second-place team will each receive a $1,000 NEST college savings account. And members of the third-place team will each receive a $500 college savings account.
Stenberg said this is the third year that the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust has provided college savings accounts for the Finance Challenge winners. Winners will be selected April 18 at face-to-face competitions in Omaha, Lincoln, and Kearney.
To prepare for the statewide competition in April, Treasurer Stenberg encouraged Nebraska high schools to take advantage of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars for Families, an online financial education program developed by EverFi, Inc., in Washington, D.C., and offered free of charge to Nebraska schools through NEST. In some communities, local banks are sponsoring or co-sponsoring the program.
While NEST provided initial seed funding for the statewide sponsorship, EverFi is continuing to work with banks, foundations, and corporations to seek additional funding to make sure that high school students across Nebraska have access to the EverFi program.
“I am here today for three reasons: One, to encourage Nebraska high school students to take part in the 2015 Personal Finance Challenge. Two, to encourage Nebraska students and their teachers to take full advantage of our online Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program. And three, to encourage young people to talk to their parents and grandparents about saving for college—whether a four-year college, community college, or trade school—with our excellent NEST college savings plans,” Stenberg said in prepared remarks to 230 students from 9th to 12th grade at Wayne High School.
“The Personal Finance Challenge statewide competition sponsored annually by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education is an excellent way to promote education on economics and personal finance in high schools throughout our state,” Stenberg said. More than 2,200 Nebraska high school students took part in the Finance Challenge last year.
“The Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars online program offers an ideal way for high school students to prepare for the Finance Challenge. The two complement each other perfectly and provide you with the incentive and the knowledge you will need to live out your dreams as financially responsible adults,” Stenberg told the students.
The face-to-face Finance Challenge team competitions take place April 18 in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney after students complete individual online tests in their home schools and their scores are averaged for a team score. First-place winners will be chosen at each competition site, and then each team’s average online test score will be used to determine first-, second-, and third-place winners in the state.
The winning team will advance to the national competition May 22 in St. Louis, Mo. The top team in Nebraska last year was from Norris High School; the second-place team was from Alliance High School.
To find out more about the competition and how to enter, teachers and students will find details at financechallenge.unl.edu. Click on Nebraska in the U.S. map or select Nebraska from the dropdown menu.
The EverFi web-based curriculum available through Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars helps students learn critical life skills regarding personal finance and money management, focusing on college savings, credit cards, credit scores, insurance, interest rates, mortgages, and stocks. The course is offered in nine modules and can be completed in about eight hours. Students who finish the program receive certificates and badges they can post to their favorite social media platforms and refer to on applications for college, for scholarships, and for employment. For more details and contact information, visit treasurer.nebraska.gov/financial-literacy.
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 TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha 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 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.