LAHS Senior Alex Livescu Awarded Honorable Mention, $1,000 Scholarship In National NGPF Competition

Los Alamos High School Senior Alex Livescu/Courtesy photo


Los Alamos High School (LAHS) student Alex Livescu was awarded Honorable Mention and a $1,000 Scholarship in the Next Gen Personal Finance Payback Challenge Scholarship Competition.

He was one of 40 students across the country to be selected for the prize.

In November, students enrolled in Financial Literacy at LAHS participated in Next Gen Personal Finance’s (NGPF) Payback Challenge, which is a simulation that mimics the types of choices that college students have to make regarding their personal finances. After playing the game, students wrote a short essay about what they learned about managing their finances in college. Teachers around the country selected their students’ best essays to submit to the NGPF Payback Challenge Scholarship Competition.

Livescu’s essay was selected as the nominee from LAHS. His essay was well-written and demonstrated good insight into the lessons learned in the game.

His essay is included below:

Many high school students do not go into college understanding how important their finances are, which is one of the main reasons for the tremendous amount of student loan debt we see today. I personally was also not aware of the possible consequences of student loan debt, but after playing PAYBACK, I learned just how important it is to balance your spending and savings during college.

One of the most important aspects of the game was compromise. Going out to eat once a week may sound like a reasonable amount of time to have fun, but the costs can have a significant impact on your debt later down the road. Some opportunities may need to be passed up completely–such as going on an expensive trip to Europe–and other times it is better to save money through work instead of relaxing and taking time off during the summer.

Starting off well is additionally a key to success; if you set yourself up with little debt, it is easier to finish college with an amount that is easy to pay off. During my time playing the game, I chose a fairly low net price that allowed me to stay balanced while also working during the summer to keep my debt low. Starting off well and compromising were the two main reasons I was successful in the game, and applying these to my future experiences can help me be successful and financially stable when I enter college in the real world.