Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Friday, March 13, 2009


Lyn Peters, Director of Communications & Financial Education Outreach
PH (360) 902-8731 lpeters@dfi.wa.gov

Jeremy Lushene, Webmaster, Financial Education Outreach
PH (360) 902-0506 jlushene@dfi.wa.gov


Three Washington Students Ace National Fall 2008 Financial Literacy Challenge To Earn $1000 Scholarships

Spokane and Mill Creek students among only 22 in the nation with perfect score

OLYMPIA – Three Washington students — Nathan D. Tijio of Mill Creek and Ibrahim T. Peker and Colleen Culbertson of Spokane — have proven they have what it takes to make smart financial decisions. Each student scored a perfect 100 percent on the Fall 2008 National Financial Literacy Challenge test of personal finance knowledge and understanding.

Of the 75,000 students who took the exam, Tijio, Peker and Culbertson are among an elite 22 in the nation to ace the test and earn $1,000 scholarships from the Charles Schwab Foundation and $1,000 for their schools.

“These young Washington residents should be exceptionally proud of their accomplishments,” Governor Chris Gregoire said. “Having a firm understanding of personal finance today will help them build a strong foundation that will support and sustain sound financial decisions for a lifetime.”

“Their teachers should be proud as well,” Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37), Chair of the Washington Financial Literacy Public Private Partnership added. “These teachers are helping their students become lifelong learners who will have a greater chance of discovering personal financial freedom than many of their peers. Today’s economy is a stark reminder of the importance for all Americans to have the financial education necessary to make potentially life-changing decisions as they manage their personal finances.”

Approximately 18,000 students who scored in the top 25th percentile of the Challenge received certificates of recognition from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and 362 students who scored at least 94 percent earned a National Financial Literacy Award medal for demonstrating exceptional levels of financial literacy. The National Financial Literacy Challenge enables inspired teachers like Josh Hayes of St. George’s in Spokane and Rose Smith of Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek to help their students step up and improve their financial fitness. The Challenge also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the need for financial education. Students took the Challenge between Nov. 3 and Dec. 12, 2008. The 35-question online test was taken by 63 percent more students than the first Challenge, administered in May 2008 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The average score, however, was only 52 percent, a clear indication of the need for more financial education for today’s youth to make sound financial decisions later in life.

A closer look at the perfect scores
The 22 perfect-scoring students hailed from just 9 states. States with multiple winners included:

About the National Financial Literacy Challenge
The voluntary test is an initiative recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Challenge was developed by the Office of Financial Education, U.S. Department of the Treasury, in consultation with four prominent academicians, the National Endowment for Financial Education, Junior Achievement USA, the National Council on Economic Education and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Additional information is available at www.schwabmoneywise.com.

About the Washington Financial Education Public Private Partnership
The Financial Education Public Private Partnership (FEPPP) Committee was formed when the 2004 Washington State Legislature enacted SHB 2455 (PDF)*. The Committee brings together individuals from both the public and private sector to improve financial literacy in Washington State.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI’s Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics. DFI also hosts a financial education blog http://finlit.blogspot.com/, a financial education Twitter page http://twitter.com/fined4all, a financial education YouTube page (where we've compiled a host of financial education videos from a variety of reliable resources) http://www.youtube.com/wadfi and a financial education calendar for Washington State http://dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/calendar.htm.

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