State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced Thursday that the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) will award $14,000 in college savings plan scholarships to Nebraska high school students who are on winning teams in the Personal Financial Challenge competition.
The Personal Financial Challenge competition is sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. Each year teams of high school students from across the state take part in an online competition that tests the students’ knowledge on essential concepts of personal finance, including income, money management, spending, credit, savings, and investing. The top-scoring teams move on to face-to-face competition with the winning team advancing to a national competition in St. Louis, MO.
The four members of the first-place team in the 2013 Personal Finance Challenge each will receive a $2,000 scholarship for a NEST college savings plan. The four members of the second-place team will each receive a $1,000 scholarship for a NEST savings account, and the four members of the third-place team will each receive $500 toward a NEST savings account.
An estimated 3,200 Nebraska students from 9th to 12th grade, guided by 200 teachers, take part in the online Financial Challenge competition each year.
“As the chief financial officer of the state and as a parent and grandparent, I firmly believe that we must emphasize and promote financial literacy for young Nebraskans. That education will help them reach their goals and achieve their dreams,” State Treasurer Stenberg said.
“My parents lived through the Great Depression. So when I was growing up in Tekamah, Nebraska, they emphasized the need to be careful handling money. Later, my education at the Harvard Business School provided me the opportunity to gain a very solid understanding of budgeting and finance. As Nebraska State Treasurer, I use that knowledge every day in addressing the important financial matters that come before me,” Stenberg said.
“Given that perspective, it has become clear to me that we need to do all we can to promote financial literacy among young Nebraskans,” he said.
Treasurer Stenberg said providing prizes for the Personal Finance Challenge is one of a series of initiatives to promote financial literacy that the Treasurer’s Office will be undertaking in 2013. Other measures will be announced later.
Stenberg said: “It is also my hope that these NEST scholarship prizes will increase the awareness of parents and grandparents of Nebraska’s College Savings Plan and how that plan can help them prepare for their children’s and grandchildren’s higher education. At NEST we encourage children to dream for their future and parents to save for those dreams.”
“The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is pleased to partner with the Office of the Treasurer of the State of Nebraska to promote financial literacy in schools throughout our state,” said Roger Butters, president of the Council. “With support from Treasurer Stenberg and the NEST College Savings Program, the Council will be dramatically expanding its Finance Challenge competition to students and teachers in grades 9-12.”
Butters said, starting in 2013, the Financial Challenge competition will be divided into three geographical regions for students in Lincoln, Omaha, and western Nebraska. Student teams will compete online for a chance to compete in regional competitions. At the regional competitions, the student teams will prepare and present financial plans for review by area banking and financial experts. Members of the top three teams in the state will be awarded NEST college savings plans by the Treasurer’s Office.
“This type of partnership between the State of Nebraska, K-12, higher education and private industry is one of the things that makes Nebraska unique in the nation as we lead the charge to ensure that every student receives a comprehensive economic and personal finance education,” Butters said. “As today’s students master economic literacy, they will be able to better plan for the future and achieve their dreams. Working together to ensure a bright future for today’s students helps ensure a bright future for Nebraska.”
The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the economic and financial literacy of Nebraska students. The Council sponsors education programs, courses, and educator workshops across the state. The Council is housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has centers at UNL, UNO, UNK, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College.
For more information about NEST, go to the Nebraska State Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.org. For more information about the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, visit www.nebraskacouncil.org.