Financial Literacy Program

Video Essay Contest

Video Essay Contest

Money Smart Week

In support of the 2017 Money Smart WeekTM Illinois - taking place April 22 to April 29, 2017 - the Department of Finance at the University of Illinois, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, presents the tenth Annual Video Essay Contest.

High School students are encouraged to produce and submit a Video Essay on the topic of Financial Literacy. In 2008 the topic was the student's relationship with a financial institution. In 2009 the topic was the financial crisis. In 2015 the topic was saving techniques for students. Every year we explore a different topic.

Students are encouraged to research the topic and to create a video essay that teachers, parents, and other students can use to learn about the topic at hand. The Video Essay can be a dramatization, animation, coordinated stills - whatever the students need to communicate their ideas and lessons about financial literacy.

Heartland Bank

Video Essay Topic 2017

This year the video essay must address some aspect of financial services. Possible topics include:

  • What every student should know about opening a bank account
    (types of accounts, having a co-signer if you are under 18, etc.)
  • What every student should know about on-line banking
    (how do you see where your money is going, using security features, monitoring transaction history, identity theft)
  • Choosing the right bank
    (how often will you need to use the banks services, what services are necessary for your banking needs, where do you plan to go to college/where do branches need to be located for your needs, etc.)
  • Balancing my bank account – what is that anyway?
    (monitoring my account, working with a budget, traking funds spent but not yet taken out of the account)
  • Planning for College
    (managing all those credit card offers, choosing a student loan, building a credit history)
  • Financial Services from non-banks
    (What is a non-bank, what does fiduciary mean, dealing with pay-day loans and other non-bank financial services)

Be Money Smart

Students need to be money smart. Videos can address any aspect of this year's topic - either in terms of what you need to know and do, to what you should avoid. Videos will be judged on the basis of the message. Is this a video we can show to all our students to help be more aware of how or why they can be money smart.

Note that in order to win, the video MUST comply with all the rules of the contest.

These topics might be of interest to language and social science classes as well as business, investments, and economics classes. For example, a Spanish class could do "Common myths about saving" for Spanish Speakers".


Video Essay Prizes

First Prize: $500
Second Prize: $250

Prizes sponsored by

JBO Teacher Prizes

In recognition for all the extras in supervising the winning video essay: $200.
In recognition for all the extras in supervising the second place video essay: $100.

Teacher prizes are given in memory of Jacques Bernard Oltheten, who would have loved this.

* The committee reserves the right to adjust the prizes based on the quantity and quality of the videos received for submission.