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Gov. Branstad recognizes Iowa Student Loan scholarship winners for proven financial literacy skills

Iowa's Record Setting Governor: The Terry Branstad Story
Iowa’s Record Setting Governor: The Terry Branstad Story

DES MOINES – Yesterday, Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Iowa Student Loan leaders recognized 30 Iowa high school seniors who each won a $2,000 college scholarship through participation in the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship, administered by Iowa Student Loan. The high school seniors from across the state were recognized in a special award ceremony on Monday at the Des Moines Botanical Garden.

This was the third year Iowa Student Loan offered the Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship, which provided Iowa high school seniors the chance to win $2,000 for college while learning important financial literacy skills.

Between November 2015 and March 2016, registered high school seniors were asked to complete two online financial literacy tutorials — Student Loan Game PlanSM and the ROCI Reality Check — which Iowa Student Loan developed to help students understand the consequences of college borrowing and discover how to maximize their return on college investment, or ROCI. In addition, scholarship contenders were required to take an online financial literacy assessment test. The 30 winners were those who scored highest on the assessment or, in the case of a tie for top scores, received the highest scores on an independently judged essay.

At Monday’s award ceremony, Branstad congratulated the students and thanked them for seeing the value in furthering their education and learning financial responsibility.

“It can be life changing to know how to save, how to limit your debt and how to invest in the future,” Branstad said. “The students here are off to a great start. By being a part of this scholarship process it says you know what that’s all about.”

The Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship was created to provide an additional funding source for college-bound students, as well as educate them on ways to minimize their borrowing for college and reach the financial potential of a college degree, said Christine Hensley, Iowa Student Loan board chair.

“We witness firsthand the pressures Iowa students and families are facing to finance higher education,” Hensley said. “One of the goals for this program was to provide a scholarship that any Iowa high school senior could qualify for — a scholarship that wasn’t merit- or need-based. And we also wanted it to educate them on ways to minimize their borrowing and reach the financial potential of a college degree.”

Branstad stressed that more must be done to ease students’ college debt burden. He told the scholarship winners and their families that he and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds worked to freeze tuition for Iowa students at the regent institutions two years in a row with only a modest recent increase.

“A good education unlocks the door of opportunity,” he said. “Besides offering you $2,000 for college, this program gives you the important tools you need to continue making good financial choices throughout your life.”

More than 60 people attended Monday’s award ceremony, including 22 of the 30 scholarship winners and their families. Branstad presented each winner with an award certificate; the $2,000 scholarship money can be used at the college or university of the winner’s choice in fall 2016.

Hensley had the following congratulatory words for the scholarship winners. “All of you are sitting here today because you proved your financial literacy knowledge. On behalf of Iowa Student Loan, I thank you for taking your college education seriously, and because you do, I know your futures are bright,” she said.

Winners of Iowa Student Loan’s 2016 Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship are:


Student Name Student School Student Name Student School
Veronica Augustine West High School (Davenport) Brandi Miller Waverly-Shell Rock High School
Aaron Bertini Glenwood High School Kaylee Puttmann MOC-Floyd Valley High School
Jared Davis Hempstead High School Lindsey Reicks Solon High School
Crystal Eppling Le Mars High School Alexandra Reifert Wilton High School
Jason Fisher Nashua-Plainfield High School Bradley Ritter Baxter High School
Rebecca Fuhrmeister Pleasant Valley High School Rebecca Roberson Akron Westfield High School
Leah Gibbs Easton Valley High School Lauren Ronnfeldt Regina High School
Nicole Giesemann Bellevue High School Amber Snyder Wilton High School
Hailey Gross West Central Valley High School Alexandria Sturtz North Polk High School
Jenny Ha Linn-Mar High School Jordan Thomas Southeast Polk High School
Alexander Hall East Mills High School Sarah Todd Columbus Community High School
Ian Kubbe Ottumwa High School Jack Turner Dowling Catholic High School
McKenna Lloyd Xavier High School Cierstynn Welcher Van Buren High School
Lindsay Mahaney Bishop Heelan Catholic High School Carter Wolf Southeast Polk High School
Nathan Maughan Albia High School Sarah Zelle Linn-Mar High School


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