NGPF Announces Honorable Mention Winners in Inaugural PAYBACK Challenge

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Apr 25, 2018
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Paying for College, Personal Finance, Interactive

PALO ALTO, California, April 26, 2018 - Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a non-profit committed to ensuring that ALL students leave high school with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex financial world, is pleased to announce the 150 honorable mention winners of their inaugural PAYBACK Challenge. 

This essay contest attracted over 500 submissions from students in all fifty states. After playing the award-winning game, PAYBACK, students wrote a 250 word essay with the following prompt:

How could you use the online game, PAYBACK, to have a conversation with your parent/guardian about paying for college?”

Teachers nominated the best student essay from their classes. NGPF staff then reviewed these essays, judging them based on the following criteria:

  • Indicates an understanding of key concepts learned by playing the game PAYBACK.
  • Addresses concerns their parents/guardians may have about this sensitive topic.
  • Takes a creative approach to engaging parents/guardians in a conversation about college.

Here’s the complete list of winners by state. Each of the 150 Honorable Mention winners will receive a $500 award from NGPF to be used for educational purposes. NGPF will announce the ten PAYBACK Challenge Finalists next Thursday, May 3rd.

“Over 60,000 students played PAYBACK during the contest period,” noted NGPF Founder, Tim Ranzetta. “Reading through hundreds of essays demonstrated how PAYBACK spurred so many thoughtful conversations between students and their parents/guardians. We applaud the educators who provided their students with the opportunity to grapple with these challenging decisions BEFORE they leave high school. Congratulations to the winners and to all those who participated!”

Here’s how a few students explained what they learned after playing PAYBACK:

"After completing the game, I discussed strategic ways to lower college costs with my parents. I presented choices I made during the game, which spurred conversations of how to collectively save money."

"Payback serves as an excellent tool. It showed me that paying for college is not only possible but manageable, and moreover, help initiate the conversation that desperately needed to happen between my parents and myself. College doesn't have to be impossible."

"Payback is a simulation of the real college experience. It shows that college is truly a constant balance of focus, connections, happiness, and debt and that only with the right tools will one be successful."

PAYBACK recently received a Webby Award for best Social Impact game and is a free game available at www.timeforpayback.com.

About Next Gen Personal Finance

Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), has become the "one-stop shop" for financial educators looking for high-quality, engaging curriculum to equip students with skills to thrive in their future.  In just three years, NGPF's comprehensive online curricular resources and teacher training have already been used by over 10,000 teachers in all fifty states. They love NGPF's approach that can be summarized as the 4 Cs: Curated, Comprehensive, Customizable and Current (and it's FREE too!).

PAYBACK Fast Facts

  • Created by McKinney, digital agency based in Durham, North Carolina, in collaboration with Next Gen Personal Finance
  • Featured in NY Times
  • Played by over 190,000 since launch in Fall of 2017
  • Average play session: 14 minutes 44 seconds
  • PAYBACK Completion Rate: 66% graduation rate with the following situations:
    • Healthy debt (41% of total players)
    • Graduate school (12%)
    • Too much debt (11%)
    • Low connections (2%)
  • PAYBACK Dropout Rate: 34%. Here were the main reasons:
    • Low focus (22% of total players)
    • Low happiness (10%)
    • Low connections (2%)

Media Contacts

Tim Ranzetta

Next Gen Personal Finance

650-218-8408

tim@ngpf.org

About the Authors

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!

Laura Matchett

After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!


Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.