Regional competition for Nebraska high school students in the Personal Finance Challenge, sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, will be April 21 in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney. Teams from 11 high schools will compete.
For the fifth year, the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) will provide a total of $14,000 in scholarships to students on the top three winning teams. The first-place team will take part in the national competition May 5 in Kansas City, Missouri. Alliance High School was Nebraska’s representative at last year’s national competition.
“We are pleased to present NEST college savings accounts to these excellent students to help them pay for their educational pursuits after high school,” said Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of NEST. Stenberg will be a judge in Lincoln.
“The Personal Finance Challenge fits well with our financial literacy initiative offered free to Nebraska schools through the NEST Financial Scholars program. Competing in the Personal Finance Challenge allows students to use their financial knowledge and skills to find practical solutions to financial problems facing young people and families today and to help them find their own way to financial well-being as adults,” Stenberg said.
Teachers can access NEST Financial Scholars for high school and grade school students at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov.
“We are grateful for the partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office. The $14,000 in scholarships is a generous incentive for students to study important financial literacy concepts,” said Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. “It is also a perfect example of what we teach: accumulate as few loans as possible, apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible; remember the less debt you incur, the more freedom you have.”
Teams were selected to take part in the regional competition based on their scores on online testing. Students took individual online tests in their home schools and their scores were averaged for a team score. The online test focused on money management, credit, spending, savings, and investing.
“At the regional competition, students will be required to apply the personal finance concepts they have learned,” Davidson said. “Each team will be given a hypothetical family scenario and two hours to come up with a financial plan based on the family’s goals. Students will present their plan to a panel of judges. Nebraska is the only state using this case study approach in its state finals. Our state champions will be well positioned at the national competition where the format is changing to follow Nebraska’s case study approach.”
A first-place winner will be chosen at each of the three regional competition sites, and then each first-place team’s average online test score will be used to determine first-, second-, and third-place winners statewide.
Members of the first-place team will each receive a $2,000 contribution to a NEST college savings account. Members of the second-place team will each receive a $1,000 NEST account, and members of the third-place team will each receive a $500 NEST account. Teachers of the winning teams will each receive an iPad tablet.
Schools competing at each site and their teachers are the following:
Lincoln – Norris (three teams), Justin McGill; Lincoln Northeast, Deb Wolken; and Lincoln Southeast, Lindsay Tillinghast.
Omaha – Bennington (two teams), Pam Sutton; Millard North, Jeff Gustafson; Millard South, Seth Woodke; and Omaha Norwest Magnet, Susan Dimmitt.
Kearney – Alliance, Brigit Harris; Arthur County (two teams), Tammie Swanson; Bridgeport, Amy Widener; and Hay Springs, Melissa Lein.