Nationwide and NACo College Scholarship

The application period for the Nationwide and NACo College Scholarship has closed.

High-school seniors whose parents, grandparents or legal guardians actively contribute to a 457(b) plan offered through the NACo Deferred Compensation Program are eligible to apply for a $2,500 college scholarship. Four $2,500 scholarships will be awarded in fall 2019 in honor of the scholarship program’s 15th year in existence.

The NACo/Nationwide scholarship essay contest is an educational opportunity for high-school students about to transition into a new stage of their lives. “One of the most critical tasks counties face is engaging young people to civic life and responsibilities,” said NACo President Greg Cox. “The NACo/Nationwide scholarship essay contest is a great way to open the eyes of high school students to the valuable roles that counties play in the lives of residents. As NACo President, my initiative this year is to help counties Connect the Unconnected to services they need. Young adults today know about staying connected through their cell phones and through various social media sites and apps. It will be our ongoing challenge, and opportunity, to get young people involved, and to stay involved, in local government,” said Cox.

To help students consider why saving early and consistently may be important, Cox shared key points from last year’s scholarship winners who answered the following questions:

Most high school students dream of the day when they will be on their own and no longer depend on their parents, but that kind of freedom requires financial independence. What does financial freedom mean to you? What is your plan to achieve financial freedom for yourself and how are you going to ensure that your financial freedom will continue through your retirement years?

To Evan Tomas Himes, the concept of financial freedom was instilled in him by his mother. “I’m learning what she wanted me to — that saving early is really important,” he says. “We are both determined to keep saving whatever small amount we can.” He plans to achieve his goals by working summers to save for college expenses ― and retirement. An Eagle Scout graduating from Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX, Evan plans to study Physics at Tarleton State University while participating in the Air Force ROTC program. 

For Haley Kordus, financial freedom is a process that starts with hard work and education, providing a foundation from which she can pursue her goals. “Through the hard work of doing well in college, earning a good wage, keeping costs reasonably low, and investing well — early on and consistently — I hope to achieve steady financial freedom for myself and my family.” After graduating from Bonduel High School in Bonduel, WI, Haley will pursue studies in both Psychology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Dayna Pham has a different point of view on financial freedom than her peers. “Most teens’ definition of financial freedom means to no longer have to rely on the salary of their parents, to no longer be dependents,” she says. “However, I view financial freedom as being free from any debt or loans, such as student loans.”  Her goal ― to “end up debt-free.” After graduating from Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, CA, Dayna plans to major in Biology at University of California, Los Angeles, with the goal of becoming an Ophthalmologist. 

Cody Wibirt understands financial freedom requires making sacrifices now that will benefit him later. “I know that if I start small and early and allow my savings habit to grow as my income grows, I will be rewarded in the end with financial freedom and independence.”  He also sees financial freedom as an opportunity to help care for his parents and future children. After graduating from Sayre Area High School in Sayre, PA, Cody plans to major in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience or Vertebral Physiology at Penn State University. 

Eligibility requirements

Graduating high school seniors who are legal U.S. residents are eligible to apply.

  • Applicant’s parent, grandparent or legal guardian must be enrolled in and actively contribute to a 457(b) plan offered through the NACo Deferred Compensation Program.
  • Applicants must enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study no later than the autumn term of the 2019-2020 school year at an accredited two- or four-year college.
  • Immediate family members of NACo employees, members of the NACo Defined Contribution and Retirement Advisory Committee or its governing board of directors, staff of individual state Association of Counties that are members of the LLC, and Nationwide employees are not eligible to apply; this program is not offered outside the United States.
  • Application and entry must be submitted online at between April 1 and May 31, 2019.

Scholarship honors 40 years of partnership

The NACo/Nationwide Scholarship is just one of many benefits of four decades of partnership between Nationwide and the National Association of Counties (NACo) and its member counties. For additional information about the NACo Deferred Compensation Program, please contact Amy Humphrey at or 860-480-1211; or contact your Nationwide representative at 877-677-3678.

Nationwide Retirement Solutions (Nationwide) partners with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to provide counties and their employees with a competitive deferred compensation program. As part of this partnership, Nationwide pays a fee to NACo in exchange for NACo’s exclusive endorsement, marketing support, and program oversight of Nationwide products made available under the program. For more information, including fees paid, Nationwide encourages you to visit

Nationwide, the Nationwide N & Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2019 Nationwide. NRM-9556AO-NX.5 (03/19)

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