Not many people would give a group of undergraduate students $50,000 to invest, but one Northwest finance firm, D.A. Davidson & Co., did just that as part of their annual Student Investment Program.

By the end of the May 2007, a group of finance students from the Washington State University College of Business saw a 29.16 percent gain on their investments, and were ranked first out of 20 schools participating in the program.

Led by Associate Professor John Nofsinger, students in the College of Business’s Investment Analysis class were divided into teams, with each team selecting a stock from Standard and Poor’s sectors of the economy. Throughout the academic year, students watch the stocks’ progress and discuss what is happening with them in regards to dividends, stock splits, and product news.

“The students worked hard learning about their stocks and sectors and did well in applying class concepts to the investment process,” said Nofsinger. “The experience was extremely positive and will benefit them professionally and personally.”

Davidson provides $50,000 in seed money at the start of each year, and splits 50-50 any earnings over a 5 percent gain with the school. Finance students in the business college have been participating in the program since 1994, and have accrued more than $54,510 in earnings over their 13 years of participation for the College of Business.

Other Washington state schools participating were the University of Washington, ranking 15th with a gain of 6.89 percent; Eastern Washington University, ranking 16th with a gain of 1.97 percent; Gonzaga University, ranking 18th with a gain of 1.29 percent; and Seattle University, ranking 20th with a loss of 11.54 percent.