Reva Richardson of Lincoln is the winner of the iPad Air 2 sweepstakes sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) to acquaint Nebraskans with a free online tutorial about state-sponsored college savings programs, State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced today.
Stenberg presented an iPad Air 2 to Richardson on Wednesday in the Treasurer’s Office in the Capitol. Richardson, who was chosen randomly from more than 800 entries, said she is looking forward to getting acquainted with the iPad over the holidays, with help from her 7-year-old grandson. She is a mother of two sons, Branson, 16, and Broderick, 22. And she has two grandchildren, DuPree Pleasant, 7, and Emagizen Richardson, 3.
“The sweepstakes, which ran from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10, was more successful than we could have imagined. Thank you to all who took part. We believe the online tutorial, developed by EverFi, Inc., is a helpful resource for Nebraska families looking for responsible and wise ways to save for college,” Stenberg said.
"The NEST campaign was one of the best performing adult campaigns in the EverFi network during the second half of 2014. The campaign hit a high-water mark for completions at 82 percent, which truly shows the dedication to increasing knowledge about how 529 programs work. We, at EverFi, consider this to be one of the strongest examples of providing meaningful financial literacy education to adults,” said Will Farmer, manager of Network Partnerships for EverFi of Washington, D.C.
“Our goal was to acquaint Nebraskans with our free online tutorial available through the State Treasurer’s website and to help them learn more about state-sponsored 529 college savings programs like NEST,” Stenberg said. “We are confident we met that goal. As a result, awareness of NEST has grown and more families know how to access reliable information about 529 programs as they look at college savings for their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and even themselves.”
“I am so excited. You made my Christmas,” Richardson said when receiving the iPad. While her other electronic devices often are taken over by her sons and grandson, she said, the iPad will be reserved for her use only. “This is all mother’s,” she said. Richardson said the college savings tutorial was easy to navigate and informative, especially the various savings options presented.
“Kudos to whoever set this up,” she said about the program developed by EverFi. “They did a good job.”
A total of 1,026 people filled out online registrations for the tutorial, called Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars for Families, during the sweepstakes period. Of the total, 846 completed the 15-minute module, and 828 of that number checked to enter the sweepstakes. Three others entered by mail.
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, known as NEST, is Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program offering four plans – NEST Direct College Savings Plan, NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and State Farm College Savings Plan. The trust includes assets of more than $3.8 billion in 223,000 accounts, including 64,000 accounts owned by Nebraskans.
State-sponsored 529 college savings programs like NEST take their name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
“Our excellent college savings program has been recognized nationally for the variety of investment options available; two of our plans, the NEST Direct and NEST Advisor, have received the top rating from savingforcollege.com, a nationally recognized source for college savings information. Given that, we want Nebraskans to experience the peace of mind that comes from opening 529 college savings accounts. In particular, we are encouraging families to open accounts when children are young so that the investments have time to grow, and we are encouraging grandparents, as well as parents, to consider saving with NEST,” Stenberg said.
“Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars for Families is a free online tutorial featuring sections on myths vs. facts, tax incentives, and a knowledge check. Nebraskans can access the tutorial at www.treasurer.org.” he said. Viewers can return to the tutorial as often as they like to find answers to questions or to review content. The campaign also is an opportunity to remind Nebraska taxpayers that they are now able to deduct up to $10,000 a year when figuring state income taxes for contributions to a NEST account made before Dec. 31.
The tutorial was developed by the educational technology company EverFi and is sponsored in Nebraska by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office. Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, and First National Bank of Omaha is program manager.
Information about how to set up a NEST account or how to increase contributions to an existing account can be found at treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/about-plans.aspx.