Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg thanked teachers and administrators Monday at Elmwood-Murdock High School for offering financial literacy education to help their students become smart consumers, wise investors, and community leaders.
In a kick-off event at the school, Stenberg also thanked the American Exchange Bank of Elmwood and the Corn Growers State Bank of Murdock for co-sponsoring the financial literacy program in their local school.
“We are confident that Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, our carefully thought-out financial literacy initiative, is having a significant impact across the state as more high school administrators review the content and seek training for their teachers. We want to help prepare young people here at Elmwood-Murdock and across Nebraska to be tomorrow’s smart, well informed consumers, wise investors, and leaders in business, education, and government,” Stenberg said.
“We are pleased to help Elmwood-Murdock schools be on the leading edge of personal finance education,” said Rob Clements, executive vice president of American Exchange Bank in Elmwood. Richard Clements, bank president, also attended.
"In a continuing public and private sector cooperative endeavor to promote financial literacy for the students of Elmwood-Murdock High School, it is only fitting and proper that the two locally- and family-owned financial institutions make this educational opportunity available to Elmwood-Murdock students," said Brian McHugh, president of Corn Growers State Bank of Murdock.
Elmwood-Murdock High School has joined the growing list of Nebraska high schools to include the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program in their curricula. Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars is an online financial management program developed by the education technology company, EverFi, Inc., of Washington, D.C., and is co-sponsored statewide in Nebraska by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) and community bank partners throughout the state.
NEST is Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program. Stenberg is Trustee of NEST.
At the end of the 2013-14 school year, 81 Nebraska high schools had made use of the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program. The total number of Nebraska students reached last year through the program was 2,214, and, of that total, 977 students completed all nine modules of the program and were certified as Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars.
“The average overall financial knowledge gain of Nebraska students, according to pre- and post-assessment surveys, was 21 percentage points,” Stenberg said. “Interestingly, the largest knowledge gains were in the modules that addressed taxes and insurance, credit scores, and investing. In those subject areas, students’ knowledge level increased as much as 30 percentage points.”
In addition to NEST’s initiative, 39 high schools in Nebraska received the EverFi program last year through the sponsorship or co-sponsorship of local banks. EverFi is continuing to look for additional support from financial institutions, foundations, and corporations to ensure that the program will continue to be offered in years to come.
“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,” Stenberg said.
“Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars had a great first year, but we know we need to do more, and your decision to introduce the EverFi program into your curriculum—with support from your two local banks—helps push us to our ultimate goal,” Stenberg told the Elmwood-Murdock administrators and teachers.
“Every high school student in Nebraska can benefit from the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program. That is the message we are taking across the State of Nebraska this school year,” Stenberg said. “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. And some of our newest certified Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars, no doubt, will come from here at Elmwood-Murdock.”