The Teach Children to Save program, sponsored by NEST 529 College Savings and First National Bank of Omaha, was kicked off today at Liberty Elementary School. For the first time, the program, which brings financial education concepts to life through a Ben Franklin character, surprised four lucky students with $529 each for college savings.
In total, the program will reach more than 1,600 students at 20 schools in eastern Nebraska. In addition to the four scholarship winners at Liberty, NEST is offering a promotion where five additional individuals who open college savings accounts will win $529 scholarships.
Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg and Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, College Savings Plans for First National Bank of Omaha, helped kick off the program by speaking with students at Liberty Elementary.
Teach Children to Save is a national program, created in 1997 by the American Bankers Association, that encourages bank volunteers to help young people develop savings habits. Recognizing the importance of these savings lessons, NEST and First National Bank of Omaha are collaborating on this initiative with a comprehensive program focused on building dreams for the future and learning how to save for those dreams.
Each of the 20 participating schools will be visited by the Benjamin Franklin character, and every fourth grade student will receive a backpack full of information to reinforce the presentation. Through the Teach Children to Save program, children will learn the basics about building their dreams, earning money, setting a budget and developing a three-part plan to save, share and spend. School presentations will take place through the first week of May.
“Studies show that involving children early in saving for their future not only improves the likelihood that they will pursue higher education, but that they will succeed in life,” said Goodkin. “When parents and other family members participate in a child's efforts to save, the prospects for success are greatly enhanced.”
“Talking about personal finance to children is a first step in creating financially responsible citizens and personal financial well-being. Research is showing that children can benefit from age-appropriate programs that help them learn about money, and that these learning opportunities need to include parents and caregivers,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
“Teach Children to Save fits well with my goals to encourage financial literacy education throughout the state for all Nebraska young people and to increase awareness of the benefits of saving for college through our Nebraska Educational Saving Trust, starting when children are young,” Treasurer Stenberg said.
The elementary schools to be visited include the following Omaha-area schools: Liberty, Jackson, Indian Hills, Mockingbird, St. Vincent DePaul, Wilson Focus, Sandoz, Upchurch, Hartman, Spring Ridge, Field Club, Wakonda, Fontenelle, Gomez and Patriot. Other schools to be visited are Blair; Tekamah; and Ruth Hill, Cavett, and Trinity in Lincoln.
Additionally, NEST is offering a “Teach Children to Save NEST $529” promotion. Five students who participate in the presentations and open new NEST college savings accounts with a special code each will receive a $529 scholarship. In addition, the winners’ schools will receive a $250 donation each. This is one of many scholarships NEST and First National Bank of Omaha will award, with more than $100,000 in scholarships to be given to children in 2015 through scholarship and bonus programs. More information is available at www.NEST529.com and www.treasurer.nebraska.gov.
“We hope that these NEST college savings scholarships will result in greater awareness of Nebraska’s college savings program and of how our state-sponsored 529 college savings plans can help parents and grandparents prepare for the cost of higher education for their children and grandchildren,” Goodkin said.
About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska has grown into the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National Bank of Omaha and its affiliates have $18 billion in managed assets and nearly 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.