University Students in TVA’s Investment Challenge Program Deliver Solid Performance in 2015

Apr 7, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University students across the Tennessee Valley Authority's service territory delivered positive returns through the federally owned utility’s Investment Challenge Program despite volatile market conditions in 2015.

“Anyone who watches their 401(k) can tell you that 2015 was a challenging year to identify investment opportunities, particularly in the second half of the year,” said TVA Vice President and Treasurer Tammy Wilson. “Solid financial discipline across the Investment Challenge Program once again delivered positive results for TVA, while students developed valuable skills they will carry into their professional careers in and around the Tennessee Valley.”

In 2015, student teams from 25 universities across TVA’s seven-state service area generated an overall return of 0.17 percent. Two teams produced strong, double-digit returns while eight more outperformed the S&P 500. Students that outperform the S&P 500 in a calendar year earn performance awards for their respective universities.

Those who earned awards in 2015 and their annual returns are:

  • Alabama A&M University, 12.54 percent
  • Western Carolina University, 10.61 percent
  • Middle Tennessee State University, 6.27 percent
  • Austin Peay State University, 6.19 percent
  • Union University, 5.99 percent
  • Belmont University, 5.90 percent
  • Tennessee Tech University, 5.29 percent
  • University of North Alabama, 4.05 percent
  • Mississippi State University, 2.34 percent
  • East Tennessee State University, 1.80 percent

TVA's Investment Challenge Program is a partnership between TVA and the universities that provides a unique hands-on experience in financial asset management where student teams can earn performance-based awards to enhance business school resources.  Since its inception in 1998, thousands of students have participated.

Student teams actively manage live stock portfolios for TVA, designing long-term investment strategies and selecting investments under the guidance of faculty members and within investment guidelines established and monitored by TVA.

TVA initially provided $1.9 million from its long-term asset retirement funds to start the program. Through 2015, the program has grown to over $13 million primarily through positive investment returns. Student teams have earned nearly $1 million in performance awards for their schools over the life of the program.

Other participating universities are: Christian Brothers University, Lipscomb University, Mississippi University for Women, Murray State University, Tennessee State University, Trevecca Nazarene University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, University of Kentucky, University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Tennessee at Martin, Vanderbilt University and Western Kentucky University.

For more information about the Investment Challenge Program, visit or follow #TVAICP on Twitter.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.


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