State Treasurer Don Stenberg helped kick off the second semester of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars today in Columbus and encouraged students at Columbus High School and across the state to take advantage of the online financial educational program provided by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST).
The innovative online program called Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars can be accessed at no charge to students, schools, or taxpayers through the State Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.org.
Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars for Students is an interactive, web-based financial education program developed by EverFi, Inc., an education technology company in Washington, D.C. Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, Nebraska’s 529 state-sponsored college savings program.
“Financial literacy is a critical life skill,” said Treasurer Stenberg. “Concepts of savings, credit, investment, interest rates, and mortgages surround us all every day. Nebraska students need this essential knowledge to prepare them to make wise financial decisions in their lives. We are happy to work with EverFi to reimagine the way financial education is taught in schools today.”
In a news conference today in Columbus, Treasurer Stenberg thanked Columbus High School Principal Steven Woodside and business teacher Kari Tunink for making Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars available to their students. He encouraged students to take advantage of the EverFi program and to learn all they can to ensure that they will be financially responsible adults and family members.
“Last May, as the State Treasurer and as the Trustee of Nebraska’s college savings plan, I announced that NEST would be the statewide sponsor of the EverFi online financial education program for high school students in Nebraska. Two forces guided that decision: we wanted to encourage financial education statewide and we wanted to increase awareness of the benefits of saving for college through NEST.
“What that announcement means to Nebraska high schools is that the EverFi financial literacy program will be available to every high school student in the state at no cost to the high school or the student,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
“I visited Gibbon High School, one of the first schools in the state to use the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program, last September. And I am here in Columbus today to let you know that our program is catching on. Since September, 50 Nebraska high schools have started offering the program and almost 900 students have benefitted from it. I hope that the attention given to this event will encourage even more Nebraska high schools to add Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars into their curricula,” Stenberg said.
Another 42 Nebraska high schools received EverFi training earlier and have been using the program for several years through sponsorships by banks in their local communities.
“I recognize that school budgets are tight and that new state standards require high schools to teach personal finance. I also know that students are eager to learn. And, as Trustee of NEST, I understand the concerns facing families as they look for effective and responsible ways to save for their sons’ and daughters’ higher educational needs without incurring large debt or overly restricting family budgets,” Stenberg said.
“We are offering Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars because this program reinforces my strong belief—as State Treasurer and as a father and grandfather—that financial knowledge is an absolutely essential piece of a well-rounded education and a productive future. 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 increasingly complex financial system,” Stenberg said.
The EverFi course is offered in 10 modules and includes eight 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 Nebraska and national educational financial literacy standards. The platform tracks the progress and score of each student and provides each student who complete the course with Certification in Financial Literacy, an accomplishment to include on college applications and resumes.
The EverFi program is 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.
EverFi, Inc. is the leading 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 major 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., and Tomorrow Ventures (the investment arm of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt). Learn more at www.everfi.com.
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.