Ten teams of high school students from across Nebraska will compete Saturday, April 19, in Lincoln and Kearney in the regional competitions of the Personal Finance Challenge sponsored by the Nebraska Council of Economic Education.
Each member of the top two teams that emerge from the competition will receive a scholarship for a college savings account with the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, known as NEST. The first-place team will go on to the National Personal Finance Challenge May 2 in St. Louis, Mo.
Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, one of the judges at the Lincoln competition, said he looks forward hearing the students’ presentations and to gaining a greater understanding of the students’ grasp of complicated financial matters facing Nebraska families today.
“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 the Treasurer’s Office demonstrates that commitment is by providing significant scholarships for winners in the Personal Finance Challenge competition,” Stenberg said.
Each member of the first-place team in Nebraska will receive a $2,000 NEST savings account, and each member of the second-place team in the state will receive a $1,000 NEST savings account. The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, is Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program. Treasurer Stenberg, by law, is Trustee of NEST.
The top two teams in the state will be determined by combining each team’s score in the face-to-face competition in Lincoln or Kearney with the score the team received in a preliminary online test taken earlier at the team’s home school.
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. The competitions will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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.
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, which is made available to all high schools in the state at no charge to students, schools, or taxpayers. EverFi, Inc., the Washington, D.C. firm that developed the online platform, is continuing to work with banks, foundations, and corporations to provide additional funding for the statewide program.
Treasurer Stenberg said the office’s 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.
Jennifer Davidson, director of programs and community development for the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, said a total of 52 middle school teams competed in the preliminary round of the Finance Challenge competition this school year. A total of 182 teams competed in the preliminary round of the high school competition.
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 preliminary online competition tested students’ knowledge of money management, spending, credit, savings, and investing.
Following are the teams that will compete in Lincoln and Kearney. Some schools are represented by more than one team.