WEST DES MOINES —
Thirty Iowa high schools were the winners of $1,000 and hundreds of students took steps to increase their understanding of student loan debt as a result of the 2013 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge.
Iowa Student Loan, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Jump$tart Coalition, Junior Achievement of Central Iowa and the Iowa College Access Network, offered the cash awards to Iowa high schools that participated in the challenge. A major component of the challenge entailed high school teachers incorporating the online financial literacy tutorial Student Loan Game Plan into their classroom instruction. With Student Loan Game Plan, high school students learned how they could plan ahead and borrow less for college by making informed financial decisions. In addition, educators received information about how they could incorporate other programs and materials offered by the challenge’s sponsoring organizations to help satisfy financial literacy requirements for the Iowa Core 21st Century Skills.
The Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge is a homegrown program that was created after the federally sponsored National Financial Capability Challenge was discontinued last fall. In 2012, Iowa Student Loan and its partners successfully promoted the national financial literacy challenge among Iowa high schools using the same cash drawing incentive. Following their efforts and those of others across the state, participation among Iowa high schools in the national program increased by more than 50 percent. However, Iowa’s participation success did not reflect national high school participation, which declined by nearly 10 percent.
This year between Feb. 18 and March 29, a total of 44 Iowa high schools enrolled in the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge and incorporated Student Loan Game Plan into their curriculum. Educators and administrators used Student Loan Game Plan in a variety of ways — from having individual students go through the tutorial to working through the module as a classroom exercise.
Winners of the cash drawing were randomly selected earlier this month from Iowa high schools that completed the Challenge.
The winning schools will each receive $1,000: $500 intended to improve or continue financial literacy programs and $500 intended for school scholarship funds.