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Dordt College News

Dordt College student is winner of statewide Money Smart Week competition

May 4, 2014

Dordt College senior Katie Dykstra is the 2014 winner of the Money Smart Week Geocache for College Cash game. Iowa JumpStart put up a prize of $1,000 in college tuition.

Approximately 1,000 Iowa students, ages 18 to 24, played the scavenger hunt-inspired game in which students received questions about topics ranging from identity theft and protecting personal information to deciding on the best method for repaying student loans. They searched posters for the answers, sent in their answers, and were entered into a drawing. Correct answers increased players’ chances of winning.

Dykstra, like many students, had pushed thoughts of student loans and repayment aside, but as graduation draws near, she’s been thinking about it more. “Money doesn’t come easy, and the game was a good reminder of what I’m going to be experiencing after I leave Dordt,” she said. Dykstra, from Bozeman, Montana, is majoring in social work and has a minor in psychology.

The game was a way to reach the college-age demographic “because students typically do not attend events, but are in desperate need of financial knowledge,” said Joanne Kuster, chair of Money Smart Week Iowa. Making it a game and using mobile technology helps engage college campuses throughout the state. “We strive to find highly visible, fun events and programs that can be easily replicated using few resources.”

Dordt College’s Center for Economic Education ran the event for college students at the college’s student-run coffee shop. More than 130 students participated. The center also partnered with Primebank, visiting four area high schools to encourage students age 18 or older to play. Erica Vonk, assistant director of the Center for Economic Education, saw that most students struggled with the poster topic of using debit versus credit cards.

Le Mars High School had 38 participants, Sioux Center High School had 31, Unity Christian High School had 28, and Western Christian High School had 16 participants. Dordt College offers affordable education, with 98 percent of students receiving financial aid. On average, Dordt students graduate with $21,900 in debt, lower than many private colleges and all of Iowa’s public universities. And 98 percent of graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

Money Smart Week, held April 5 to 12, is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. The effort was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002.

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