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The winners of this year’s Geo Cache Money Smart Week event were Gloria Brott and her student Kole Rover from Callanan Middle School in Des Moines. The event focused on helping students gain knowledge about being safe while shopping online. Gloria will receive $100 and Kole $25 from Jump$tart. Gloria is an family and consumer sciences teacher at Callanan. Forty-seven teachers enrolled and 180 students participated in the contest, which was held during Money Smart Week on April 23-30. Iowa AAFCS sponsored this project last Fall and again this Spring.
First Generation is a powerful resource for teachers and counselors helping “first generation” students planning for college. This film features the real-life stories of “first generation” students, and would make a great “end of year” film to screen for students.
Here’s what one school counselor had to say about the film:
“The film prompted numerous conversations with students. It was beneficial for them to see peers that were going through the process and seeing the struggles. The thing that I wasn’t expecting was the impact on teachers and counselors. I think that it was eye opening for them to see what first generation students really encounter. I had one counselor share that she was surprised by the number of students under-selecting. It is something that happens at our Title One high school often. Counselors and teachers don’t always realize the role that they play in that. The film is extremely powerful!”
First Generation is now streaming free at GoCollegeNow.org!
Morgan Fannon, an eleventh-grader at Edgewood-Colesburg Senior High School, has won the statewide financial literacy essay contest for Money Smart Week Iowa and has been named Iowa’s 2016 Money Smart Kid. Fannon was recognized April 25 at Edgewood-Colesburg Junior/Senior High School. Fannon will also receive a $1,000 Certificate of Deposit sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association.
“How to plan for emergencies is an important aspect of financial education, and it is exciting to see these students applying what they learn to a realistic situation,” said Lori Ristau, vice president of marketing and communications at the Iowa Bankers Association. “Iowa banks are committed to helping Iowans reach their financial goals, and providing access to financial education resources through programs like Money Smart Week is just one of the many ways banks can help. We are pleased to sponsor this fun and educational opportunity for Iowa students on behalf of our member banks.”
Approximately 253 students from across the state participated in the essay contest. To be eligible, students had to be in grades seventh through eleventh and submit a 400-word essay. The essay asked students to consider ways their family could adjust spending if a medical emergency occurred and a parent/guardian could not work temporarily. Students were also asked to think of actions they could take to assist their family. Finally, students were asked to write about ways their family could better prepare for unexpected emergencies that can have a major financial impact. The top six essay finalists also participated in an interview with contest judges. From those finalists, Morgan Fannon was selected to be the 2016 Money Smart Kid.
“Another record number of essays were submitted from clever, selfless and forward-thinking students across Iowa,” said Matt Brown, chair for the Money Smart Kid Essay contest. “The question this year asked students to not only think about the financial impact of emergencies that limit household income, but step forward with bold ideas of how they could assist their families in such a difficult but not altogether uncommon event. The challenge was accepted by students in ways that exceeded my high expectations for this annual contest.”
About 240 students, more than 15 local bankers, Dr. Liang Wee, president of Northeast Iowa Community College and many others were on hand to hear Fannon read her essay as she was presented as the 2016 Money Smart Kid.
“If my family were to go through a financial crisis, like a medical emergency, these are the steps I would take to ensure financial peace,” Fannon began her award-winning essay. “I would first create a budget, begin working a part-time job (or additional job) and establish an emergency fund for the future.”
Click here to read Fannon’s full essay.
On March 24 Governor Terry Branstad signed two proclamations promoting financial literacy awareness in Iowa, and members of the Iowa Jump$tart Coalition attended the signing ceremony. One proclamation declared April 23-30 Money Smart Week in Iowa. Another proclamation declared the month of April as Financial Literacy Awareness Month in Iowa. Click here to view the Financial Literacy Awareness Month proclamation.
Looking for ways to get involved in financial literacy during Financial Literacy Month or during Money Smart Week? Be sure to review the Iowa Jump$tart website for the latest updates on financial literacy activities. Also visit the Money Smart Week website for more information about Money Smart Week.
If you are an elementary teacher or principal, you play a vital role in helping young children grow – and now you can help their families grow their college savings. This spring, the State Treasurer’s Office is offering a new 529 college savings tutorial, College Savings Iowa InFocus. This short, interactive learning experience allows parents, grandparents and others to explore the numerous benefits of using a 529 plan to start saving for a loved one’s future.
Each person who completes the 10-minute tutorial will be registered to win a $1,000 College Savings Iowa account for a loved one. For helping spread the word, two participating elementary schools across Iowa will be selected to win $529 for their school. In order to enter the school giveaway, simply request that your families include your school name and city upon their registration for the tutorial.*
This opportunity will be open to elementary schools across the state starting on April 1, during Financial Literacy Month, and wrapping on May 31, in celebration of 529 Day.
For more information about the program and to request materials, please sign up at IowaTreasurer.gov no later than Tuesday, March 15. Please email Amanda Shetler (Amanda.Shetler@iowa.gov) with any questions.**
For more information about College Savings Iowa, visit CollegeSavingsIowa.com.
*At least five parents/guardians of a school must properly register for and complete the tutorial in order for that school to be considered eligible for the random drawing.
**School information will not be shared with third party organizations.
For more information about the College Savings Iowa 529 Plan, call 888-672-9116 or visit collegesavingsiowa.com to obtain a Program Description. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are included in the Program Description; read and consider it carefully before investing.
Student debt is a serious problem – amounting to more than $1.3 trillion dollars – with long-term implications to quality of life for students and their families. While many issues contribute to the problem, an important step toward solving it is to educate yourself and others about options for making smart financial decisions.
Learn about the true costs of a college degree. Watch Broke, Busted and Disgusted Jan. 7 at a special presentation at the DMACC West Theatre. The film, to be presented by Adam Carroll, is designed to help college students (and their parents) better understand the potential repercussions of student debt and how to graduate with less debt.
Click here to learn more about the film.
Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy in Burlington, Vt. has recently graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) on their efforts to produce financially literate high school graduates, and Iowa received a ‘C’ on its report card.
In this 2015 report, states were measured on whether they had personal finance instruction as a graduation requirement, made personal finance education a part of a required course, or had substantive personal finance topics in its academic standards that local school districts are expected to teach.
Just five states in the country scored an A: Utah, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia. These five states are the only ones in the country that require students take a dedicated semester of personal finance courses to graduate.
In the report, it is noted that Iowa does not have a specific personal finances course as a graduation requirement, but that the Iowa Core does contain a financial literacy standard. Iowa was also given “extra credit” for its 2014 Iowa Financial Literacy Work Team Report, which includes eight specific recommendations for improving financial literacy in the state.
This is the second time Champlain has produced such a report card, with the last report card being issued in 2013. Iowa received a ‘C’ on the 2013 report card as well.
Click here to read the 2015 Champlain report.
In related news, Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter recently called on all three of Iowa’s public universities to develop some sort of mandatory financial literacy course to help address the issue of student debt. Click here to read more in an article from the Cedar Rapids Gazette.