Eighty-one Nebraska high schools took advantage of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, an online financial literacy education program sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) at no cost to schools, during the 2013-14 school year, State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today at a news conference in his office in the State Capitol.
The total number of Nebraska students reached last year through the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program was 2,214, and, of that total, 977 students completed all nine modules of the program to be certified as Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars. The online financial literacy program was developed by EverFi, an educational technology company headquartered in Washington, D.C.
“I am very pleased with the number of Nebraska high schools that used the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program last year, our first year of implementation,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “The high rate of school adoption has made this program one of the most successful first-year programs of any of EverFi’s statewide partnerships. We are proud of these statistics and prouder yet of the students’ efforts to learn about personal financial matters like what a credit score means, how to fill out a checkbook, and how to save for college.”
In addition to the 81 schools using the EverFi program through Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, another 39 high schools in Nebraska are providing the EverFi program through the sponsorship or co-sponsorship of local banks. The EverFi program is made available to students in Lincoln Public Schools through the sponsorship of Union Bank and Trust Co. and Nelnet.
“We had a great first year,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “But we need to do more. Every high school student in Nebraska can benefit from the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program. That is the message we will take across the State of Nebraska this year. I am confident that next year we will be able to report that dozens more high schools are participating and that several thousand more Nebraska high school students are being served.”
Stenberg said he called the news conference both to report on the results of the first year of the financial literacy program and to encourage more schools to take advantage of the program that is offered at no cost to the schools, the students, or the taxpayers. While NEST has 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 students across Nebraska continue to have access to financial literacy education through the EverFi program.
“I look forward to adding new schools to our program and new students to our growing ranks of certified Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars during this new school year,” Stenberg said.
“Financial literacy is one of today’s critical life skills. Concepts of savings, credit, investments, interest rates, and mortgages surround us all every day. Students need this essential knowledge to make wise financial decisions in their lifetimes,” Stenberg said.
“By gaining a greater understanding of personal finance through Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, hundreds of Nebraska high school students have positioned themselves to be smart consumers, wise investors, and financially responsible adults. It is also our intent that, through this program, more young people and their families become aware of the benefits of saving for college through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust or NEST, as we call our state-sponsored 529 college savings program.”
Treasurer Stenberg offered the following observations about the first year of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars:
About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $21 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
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.