Sep 25, 2018

NGPF PAYBACK Challenge: Over $125,000 In Cash Prizes Available for Students!

*Thank you all for participating in our #PaybackChallenge! We had the best team reading party to date! We will announce the Winners via Press Releases in early January! All emails to winners and participants have been sent.*

Last spring, we debuted our inaugural PAYBACK Challenge to high schools across the nation. We're back at it again this fall just as students start the college application process. This scholarship opportunity is open to ALL 9th-12th graders. So, educators, check out the details below and sign up for the PAYBACK Challenge!

Featured in the New York Times and recent winner of the 2018 Social Impact Webby Award, our college life decision-making game PAYBACK has been played by over 400,000 students since its launch last fall! 

***Fill out this Intent to Participate Form before getting started!*** 

STEP 1: Students Play PAYBACK

STEP 2: Students Write A Short Essay
  • Students choose between the following TWO prompts and write a 250-word essay
    • Prompt 1: How has the PAYBACK game changed your perspective on the real-life decisions you will make when paying for college?
    • Prompt 2: What steps can you take NOW in order to complete college with as little debt as possible?
  • ELL students are more than welcome to also submit their essay en español, tambien!

STEP 3: Teacher Nominates and Submits ONE student essay

  • Teachers, send your one nominated essay
    • One Teacher = One essay submission. If you have more than one great essay, have a colleague submit it on your student's behalf. Feel free to share this opportunity with your other teacher friends, too!



For our national contest:

Over $125,000 in cash prizes available! Winners will be announced in December 2018. The following awards will be provided:

National Student Awards:

  • National Grand Prize Winners - 10 at $5,000 each
  • Honorable Mention Awards: 2 per state* at $500 each

*Note: A minimum of 20 essays per state + District of Columbia must be submitted in order for students from that state to be eligible to win an award.

For our New York City, Long Island, & Westchester contest:

Up to $25,000 in cash prizes available! Winners will be announced in December 2018. The following awards will be provided:

  • Grand Prize Winners: 2 at $5,000 each
  • Honorable Mention Awards: 30* at $500 each. 

*Note: A minimum of 100 essays across NYC and Long Island must be submitted in order for the stated quantity of scholarships to be granted.


Rules & Regulations:

  1. Essays must be written by a student CURRENTLY attending high school (public, private, charter or alternative) in the United States or internationally.
  2. Entries will ONLY be accepted from educators. Each educator can ONLY nominate one student essay. If you have more than one great essay, have a colleague submit it on your student's behalf.
  3. Essays must be 250 words or less.
  4. Essays must be submitted online, using the Essay Template that was sent to you via email, by Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
  5. Essays must be original and unpublished. Plagiarized entries will be rejected.
  6. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.
  7. Copyright of the essays entered will be assigned to the organizer.

If you have questions, please use the online chat feature at the bottom right of our NGPF website.


About the Author

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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