News: Financial Aid

Coast to Coast: Los Angeles and Miami Pave the Way With Two New CSA Programs

Tuesday, December 24, 2019  
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By guest blogger Oliver Robinson, Program Associate, Children’s Savings Team at Prosperity Now

This article was originally published by Prosperity Now and is reposted with permission.

Throughout the country, 2019 has been an amazing year for the CSA field as we launched many new or expanded programs at the local, city and state levels. CSA practitioners, educators and community leaders have continued to develop new strategies and equitable solutions that will increase college access and savings for more children and their families. In early November, the announcement of two new citywide CSA programs, FutureBound Miami and Opportunity LA, capped off this successful year. These programs will become two of the largest city programs in the country, enrolling thousands of children with new accounts, increasing community engagement, and establishing a commitment to the pursuit of higher education for all.

Catalyst Miami – an organization dedicated to collectively solving issues adversely affecting low-wealth communities – is leading a partnership with United Way Miami, Children’s Trust Miami, and South Florida Credit Union to launch Miami’s first CSA program. During its first year, FutureBound Miami will roll out to 30 elementary schools in the City of Miami. This roll out will ensure that approximately 3,000 students will receive $25 initial deposits when their accounts are activated. These 30 elementary schools were specifically selected to prioritize students with the highest economic need. 92% of students in the schools receive free or reduced-price lunch and are eligible to receive an additional $25 deposit from the program.

The program officially launched on Nov. 12 at Santa Clara Elementary school. During the event, parents were able to activate their children’s accounts immediately to receive their initial deposits. FutureBound Miami will be the first citywide CSA program in Florida, paving the way for educational opportunity and college access across the city. The program plans to expand to all Miami-Dade County elementary schools by 2023.

Across the country, the City of Los Angeles made its own CSA news by announcing its plans to launch the Opportunity LA CSA program in partnership with Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Once the rollout is complete, Opportunity LA will be the largest municipal CSA program in the country by annual enrollment. Championed by city councilmember David Ryu, the LA City Council unanimously approved the plan for Opportunity LA on Nov. 6. This program will roll out to 10% of all first-grade students in LAUSD during the 2020-2021 school year, which is roughly 4,000 students. Additionally, it will provide a $50 initial deposit to every student enrolled. Within five years, the city plans to expand the program to include all first-grade students in the district—approximately 45,000 students—who will be automatically enrolled regardless of income, background or immigration status. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti voiced his support for the program stating that it, “ensures no barrier stands between our students and their dreams.”

As 2019 comes to a close, the launch of FutureBound Miami and Opportunity LA serve as shining examples of the progress made across the CSA field. From one coast to another, this long-term investment in children and their families will usher in increased educational opportunity, college access and a path to a brighter future for thousands of children.

Learn more about CSAs and see additional examples of how they are operating in different communities across the U.S.