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On January 17, 2024, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology kicked off the 11th annual Student Financial Literacy Scholarship Competition.

The president of the university, Dr. Eric Darr; Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Timothy L. DeFoor; and Members 1st Federal Credit Union’s Chief Relationship Officer, Chad Adams, were all on hand to mark the occasion. The competition’s theme and title, as with previous years, is “What Does Financial Literacy Mean to Me?”

About the Financial Literacy Competition

Dr. Darr had this to say about the competition’s latest installment:

“In high school, students are learning personal finance skills critical for independence in adulthood. Understanding the basics of money management sets them up for a future with good financial habits and success. Harrisburg University is pleased to have the opportunity to host this competition, placing a spotlight on the importance of financial literacy.”

This year, Pennsylvania students in grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to submit either a short essay or a poem about the role financial literacy plays in their lives. Three winners, and three honorable mentions, will be selected and announced during Financial Literacy Month, which occurs every year in April.

First-, second-, and third-place winners, as well as the honorable mentions, will receive cash prizes from Harrisburg University:

  • First place: $2,500
  • Second place: $1,500
  • Third place: $1,000
  • Three honorable mentions: $500 each

In addition to the cash prizes above, each student who submits an entry to the contest will receive a $1,000 tuition scholarship if they enroll as a full-time student at Harrisburg University.

The deadline for submissions is March 17, 2024. Students must submit their entry online at

Financial Literacy: A Personal and Community Imperative

Pennsylvania’s 50th Auditor General, Timothy L. DeFoor, who has served the Commonwealth since January 2021, offered his own thoughts about what financial literacy means to individuals, families, and taxpaying communities:

“If you know how money works, you’re in a better position to understand where your money is going, how it’s being spent, and you’re able to hold government accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars … Learning how to be money smart is essential to the success of our commonwealth, which is why we are excited to partner again with Harrisburg University and Members 1st to promote this year’s student competition. This competition gives students the creative ability to write about financial literacy and encourages them to start thinking about how money works.”

Jessica Warren, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Harrisburg University, noted: “For the first time in the competition’s history, written content is just the beginning; students are encouraged to explore other creative mediums as well, including graphic design, audio, and video content.”

The competition was launched 11 years ago by Harrisburg University to help advance financial education among Pennsylvania’s student body. This is the third year the Department of the Auditor General has partnered to promote it, and it’s the second year for Members 1st FCU.

Said Chad Adams of Members 1st:

“Our collaboration with Harrisburg University and Auditor General DeFoor to explore innovative approaches to financial education enables us to nurture tomorrow’s leaders into financially responsible individuals … We take pride in our ongoing partnership with this vital initiative, as it continues to make a significant impact on students throughout the commonwealth and, ultimately, our communities.”

After the Competition, What Comes Next?

In 2023, more than 110 Pennsylvania students across the state submitted either a short essay or a poem describing what financial literacy meant to them. Winners were selected by a panel of judges and announced at an awards ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda during financial literacy month. Each winner received cash prizes from Harrisburg University.

For more information on Harrisburg University and the student competition, you can visit You can also learn more about efforts by the Department of the Auditor General to promote financial literacy by visiting Members 1st FCU offers free financial literacy resources of its own for members, which you can learn more about at

As mentioned, every student who enters the competition will receive a $1,000 scholarship if they enroll at Harrisburg University full-time following their primary education. As one of the leading STEM universities in the nation, H.U. offers several programs that competition entrants would likely find compelling, including a bachelor’s degree in Management, Entrepreneurship, and Business Administration; a master’s degree in Consumer Behavior and Decision Sciences; and a master’s degree in Techpreneurship. If there’s one thing even more valuable than a financially literate student, it’s a financially literate business, community, or government leader.