The three winners in the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) iPad Air 2 Drawing were announced today by Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
The winners are Joshua Cowan of Lincoln, Janet Spencer of Hastings, and Robert Cunningham of York.
The drawing, which ran from March 1 to March 31, was designed to promote awareness of Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars for Families, a free online tutorial for parents and grandparents about saving for college. The tutorial can be accessed at treasurer.nebraska.gov.
A total of 947 people were entered in the drawing after completing the online tutorial, or a one-page refresher for those who entered the drawing last year.
“Thank you to the parents and grandparents who accessed the free tutorial and learned about state-sponsored 529 college savings programs like the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust,” said Treasurer Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST.
“Parents, grandparents, and other family members or friends who may be thinking about saving for college for a child can find basic information on the free online tutorial. Even now that the drawing is over, we encourage families to view the tutorial. Those who have accessed it in the past may want to give it another look as it is being updated tomorrow. It may just be the best 15 minutes you have spent in a long time,” Stenberg said.
Cowan, one of the winners, said he planned to give his iPad to his two daughters, Ella, 10, and Erica, 6. He said he will monitor the girls’ time on the iPad and encourage use for school projects and homework. He plans to load math flash cards on the iPad, along with games for recreation.
The iPad drawing provided the boost he and his wife, Misty, needed to start learning about college savings plans for their daughters, he said. He and his wife are college graduates, and they are looking forward to their daughters graduating from college, debt free, he said. He said he has confidence in a college savings program managed by the State of Nebraska.
The NEST Scholars for Families online tutorial, developed by EverFi, Inc., features sections on myths vs. facts about saving for college, tax incentives, and a knowledge check. Viewers can return to the tutorial as often as they like to find answers to specific questions or to review the content at leisure.
Stenberg said the iPad campaign was an opportunity to remind Nebraskans they can deduct up to $10,000 a year when figuring state income taxes for contributions to Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings account. The campaign also was an opportunity to remind account owners that computer technology and equipment, including desk-top computers, laptops, and tablets, are now considered qualified expenses in 529 college savings programs.
“As we travel the state to promote our financial literacy program for high school students and to award scholarships to winners of our various contests, we are reminded that we need to continually educate Nebraska families about the value of saving for college through NEST and the importance of starting to save when children are young,” Stenberg said. “The online tutorial provides an excellent starting point for families who are beginning to plan for their children’s educational futures and are looking for responsible ways to save with favorable tax benefits.”
Stenberg said EverFi is releasing improvements to the adult financial education tutorial, beginning Tuesday, to strengthen learner engagement and enhance the user experience. New features include the following:
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 Bloomwell 529 Education Savings Plan, and the State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. Union Bank & Trust Company 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 285,000 accounts, including over 94,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.