A total of $14,000 in college savings accounts with the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) will be awarded April 18 at the regional competition of the Personal Finance Challenge, sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today.
Fifteen teams from Nebraska high schools are expected to compete in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney for the college savings accounts and a chance to represent the state at the National Personal Finance Challenge competition May 22 in Kansas City, Mo.
Each member of the first-place team in Nebraska will receive a $2,000 NEST savings account, each member of the second-place team will receive a $1,000 NEST savings account, and each member of the third-place team will receive a $500 college savings account. Teams are usually made up of four students each.
“We are pleased to offer these prizes to Nebraska high school students who have studied hard to learn about personal finance and to put into practice the knowledge they have gained about saving, investing, spending wisely, and managing family finances,” said Stenberg, Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust. “I am looking forward to the competition and the opportunity to observe students using this practical knowledge that will serve them well throughout their lifetimes.”
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, the state-sponsored 529 college savings program, is a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office.
Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council of Economic Education, said 887 students participated this year in the online test, the first phase of the Personal Finance Challenge competition. The students were guided by 37 teachers, including eight who were new to the competition. The council is a non-profit organization that sponsors education programs, courses and teacher workshops. It is housed at UNL and has centers at UNL, UNK, UNO, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College.
The preliminary online competition tested students’ knowledge of money management, spending, credit, savings, and investing. The students were tested individually, and their scores were added together for a team score. The five teams with the highest scores in each region advanced to the regional face-to-face competition.
At the face-to-face competitions, teams will be given two hours to prepare plans in response to a hypothetical scenario about family finances. Each team will present its plan to a team of judges. Stenberg will be one of the judges at the Lincoln competition. The competitions will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Teams from the following high schools have earned the top spots in their regions and have been invited to compete April 18 at these locations:
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.