Child/College Savings Accounts Move Forward in 2018

December 11, 2018

By Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations

City leaders and state treasurers continued to adopt children’s savings account (CSA) programs in 2018. CSAs are long-term savings accounts that provide incentives to help children from birth to age 18 – especially low-income children – build dedicated savings for postsecondary education.

This year, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts added programs, and the Los Angeles Unified School District resolved to pursue a program for all its kindergarten students. New mayors in Atlanta and St. Paul, MN, also announced their intentions to start programs.

These newcomers add to notable programs in places such as Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Oakland, CA (for a complete directory of programs in more than 30 states, see this map).

A 2013 analysis of data on about 512 families earning below $50,000 found that students who had from $1 to $499 saved for college were more than four times more likely to attend college than other low-to-moderate income students with no college savings. Researchers hypothesize that CSAs can increase the likelihood of a child attending and graduating college because they instill the early belief that postsecondary education is possible, encouraging students to make choices consistent with college preparation throughout their K-12 education.

To help our members learn more about CSA programs and how they fit into the landscape of postsecondary attainment strategies, NCAN has been profiling members that include a CSA component in their work. Follow the links below for more details on each program.

  • The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance administers the state’s 529 college savings program, which offers matching incentives to low-income families and does outreach to ensure these families understand all the options for affording a college education.

  • Virginia529 partners with several nonprofit organizations to make account contributions to some low-income high school students as they achieve certain college preparatory milestones, thereby integrating savings with the steps students must take to be college-ready.

  • “I Have A Dream” Foundation affiliates in several states offer a DREAM accounts program that combines matched savings contributions with an evidence-based set of college access milestones and a robust postsecondary financial education curriculum.

  • Inversant combines a monthly learning curriculum for parents, incentivized savings, and connection to other helpful community agencies. Facilitators coach parents on a full range of college access topics, including standardized testing, higher education options and costs, and the college application process.

  • KC Scholars seeks to increase postsecondary education attainment for low- and modest-income students and adults in the greater Kansas City area, and has adopted savings accounts as one of its key strategies, in addition to scholarships and support services.

  • The Oakland Promise is a multidimensional community effort to triple postsecondary attainment for Oakland students by 2025. It includes two savings account programs: Brilliant Baby ($500 at birth with additional savings matches available) and Kindergarten to College ($100 for all kindergarten students, with additional matches available).

Tweet: Dynamic Duo Helps Detroit Students Get Degrees: via @collegeaccess

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