Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg today announced a statewide initiative to make an online financial literacy education program available to all Nebraska high school students and parents. The initiative, to be called Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, is expected to be available this fall.
Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars is being offered through an agreement with EverFi, Inc., an educational technology company based in Washington, D.C. The initiative is being sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), Nebraska’s college savings program. Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee of NEST.
The interactive, web-based EverFi program will be available to Nebraska high schools at no cost to the schools. A second component of the program will provide Nebraska parents with a web-based tutorial on financing their children’s higher education and on learning more about investing through 529 college savings plans. State-sponsored 529 plans, like NEST, take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
Both components of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars will be accessed through the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office website at www.treasurer.org
The EverFi course is offered in 10 modules and includes six hours of programming aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of financial topics including credit cards, credit scores, insurance, mortgages, savings, stocks student loans, taxes, 401k plans, and other critical concepts that meet national educational financial literacy standards. The platform tracks the progress and score of each student and provides students who complete the course with Certification in Financial Literacy, an accomplishment that can be included on college applications and resumes.
The EverFi program will be facilitated by teachers to complement other material that is being used in Nebraska classrooms. To engage students, EverFi relies on new media technologies including video, animation, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking. Through the EverFi platform, students will become certified in more than 600 topics in financial education, preparing them to become informed, financially responsible adults.
“This program will benefit students, parents, and the State of Nebraska as we provide our young people with the financial literacy information they need to live out their dreams as financially responsible adults and as we provide families the information and tools they need to build the financial foundation where these dreams can take hold,” Treasurer Stenberg said in a news conference in the State Capitol.
Also speaking at the news conference were Bonnie Sibert and Harris Payne of the Nebraska Department of Education; Nebraska Bankers Association President and CEO George Beattie; and EverFi Co-Founder Jon Chapman.
“After hours of research and discussions, I am confident that we have chosen an excellent resource as the centerpiece of our financial education initiative. We will continue to sponsor other activities that promote financial literacy, including essay contests and team competitions. And we will continue to provide scholarship contributions to NEST college savings accounts to those winners,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
“Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars will reach across the state and will reinforce my strong belief, as State Treasurer, that financial knowledge is an absolutely essential piece of a well-rounded education,” Stenberg said. “I believe that basic financial knowledge is critical to our goal of developing financially responsible, productive citizens who can move our state and our economy forward and who will be able to manage their own finances and their families’ finances in an increasing complex financial system as smart, well informed consumers and investors.”
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.
EverFi, Inc., of Washington, D.C., is an education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, and certifying K-12 and college students in the critical skills they need for life. The company teams with corporations and foundations to provide the programs at no cost to K-12 schools. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EverFi investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Twitter founder Evan Williams, Rethink Education, New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), and Tomorrow Ventures (the investment arm of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt). Learn more at www.everfi.com.