The Wisconsin Coalition on Student Debt held the first-ever Money Smart Essay Contest for high school seniors in Southwest Wisconsin during Money Smart Week, March 30 – April 6, 2019. Students from Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, and Rock County had the opportunity to write an essay about how they plan to finance their college education for a chance to win one of three $1,000 Edvest gift cards.

Gift card sponsors included:

Oregon Community Bank

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Park Bank, Madison

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Settlers bank, Windsor

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And other financial supporters. Thank you!


Members of the Coalition reviewed and scored 43 essay submissions based on criteria including research, identifying funding sources for college, and explaining how school choice will further the student’s career.

Throughout the month of May, Coalition members traveled the southwest corner of the state awarding the scholarships and presenting the Edvest gift cards. Congratulations to the following winners:

  • Kianna Jenswold – Jefferson High School
  • Alyssa Kuhn – Waunankee High School
  • Hannah Wilson – Beloit Memorial High School

“We are proud to support these deserving students as they continue their education,” said Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Executive Director Mike Semmann. “Wisconsin's banks have always been strong supporters of their communities, and this is just one more example of that long-standing tradition.”

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Pictured above (left to right): Scholarship Winner Kianna Jenswold; Cheryl Rapp, DFI College Affordability Specialist; Amber Seitz, Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Financial Literacy Manager; Casey Koenig, Oregon Community Bank Vice President - Business Banking; and Kristel Renn, Summit Credit Union.

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Pictured above (left to right): Brian Kersten, Waunakee Principal; Cheryl Rapp, DFI College Affordability Specialist; Dave Mancl, DFI Director - Office of Financial Literacy; Scholarship Winner Alyssa Kuhn; Kathy Blumenfeld, DFI Secretary; Steven Erickson, Waunakee Community Bank; Amy Crowe, Summit Credit Union.

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Pictured above (left to right): David Mancl, DFI Director Office Financial Literacy; Stephanie Johnson, Oregon Community Bank; Kathy Blumenfeld, DFI Secretary; Scholarship Winner Hanna Wilson; Erin Wolf, Guidance Counselor; Mr. Anthony Bosco, Interim Superintendent; Emily Pelz, Interim Principal; Cheryl Rapp, DFI College Affordability Specialist


Organizations participating in the Wisconsin Coalition on Student Debt include: Ascendium Education (f/n/a Great Lakes Higher Education); Boys & Girls Club; Fair Opportunity Project; GreenPath Financial Wellness; Herzing University; Madison Metropolitan School District; Medical College of Wisconsin; Navient; Summit Credit Union; University of Wisconsin; Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin; UW Credit Union; WEAC; Western Technical College; Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; Wisconsin Bankers Foundation; Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions; and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

For more information about Money Smart Week, visit www.moneysmartweek.org. To search a library of financial education resources for consumers and educators, visit MyMazuma.com.

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The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (IRS Public Charity Employer Identification Number 46-3791061) is a Wisconsin non-stock corporation organized for charitable and education purposes dedicated to promoting financial literacy and financial responsibility to the public and to broaden consumer empowerment in the financial services industry primarily through research and education.