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Treasurer Stenberg Announces 2013 Essay Contest for 7th, 8th Graders

The 11th annual “Why I Want to Go to College” essay contest for seventh and eighth graders was announced today by Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg. The contest, open to students in Nebraska and across the United States, is sponsored by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team.

Winners, who will receive contributions to Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings plans, will be recognized May 19 at the Omaha Storm Chasers’ game at Werner Park in Papillion, Neb.

“The essay contest has been an effective way for seventh and eighth graders to reflect on the value of a college education and to think about how they and their families will pay for college,” State Treasurer Stenberg said. “Past winners have displayed a depth of understanding of the value of higher education. Their essays have been honest and genuine and have focused on their families, their career goals, and their desire to serve their communities.”

The contest also is an opportunity for seventh and eighth graders to add to their Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) accounts or to get started saving if they do not already have accounts, Treasurer Stenberg said. “While parents are encouraged to start saving for their children’s education from birth, they can still accumulate substantial savings and take advantage of significant tax incentives by opening accounts when children are junior high and high school age,” the Treasurer said.

“Why I Want to Go to College” essays are due April 5. The essays will be judged by faculty and students at the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with final selections made by Treasurer Stenberg. Winners will be announced in early May. Three winners will be chosen in each of Nebraska’s three U.S. congressional districts, and three winners will be selected from outside Nebraska.

Winners from Nebraska will receive tickets to the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game on May 19. First-place winners also will each receive a $3,500 contribution to a Nebraska college savings plan and a one-night hotel stay in Omaha. Second-place winners will each receive a $1,000 contribution to a college savings plan, and third-place winners will each receive a $500 contribution to a college savings plan. Winners from outside Nebraska will receive contributions to Nebraska college savings plans.

The following guidelines apply to the essay contest:

  • The essay must be no longer than 750 words.
  • The essay must be the student’s original work.
  • The essay must typed, double spaced on 8 1/2 X 11-inch paper.
  • The essay must be accompanied with the required cover sheet.
  • Rules for the contest can be found here.
  • Essays are to be sent to the Omaha Storm Chasers, Attn: Andrea Stava, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, NE 68046, postmarked by April 5, 2013.

About NEST

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, NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and The State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as the Program Trustee. First National Bank serves as the Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. More than 53,000 families in Nebraska and over 190,000 nationwide are saving for their children’s higher education through NEST. For more information, visit or

  • Jana Langemach
  • Director of Communications
  • 402-471-8884