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Children's savings account pilot program expanded

March 2, 2017

Boston Public Schools

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The program gives families the opportunity to create a long-term savings plan for their children for college, post-secondary education, and job training.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the expansion of Boston Saves, the City's Children's Savings Account (CSA) program. The program is designed to give families the opportunity to create a long-term savings plan for college, post-secondary education and training, for their children. Today, the McKay School in East Boston, the final school of the five schools initially selected as part of a pilot phase, launched the program; with the announcement that Boston Saves will be offered at an additional six schools in the city beginning in Fall 2017.

To prepare for the fall pilot program, the six selected schools will join a learning cohort that includes leadership from the first five schools to share best practices on how to successfully implement the program, which will help the city design a universal roll out in Fall 2019.

Mayor Martin Walsh Reading to Schoolchildren in a Classroom

"Children's Savings Accounts are important savings tools that empower students and families to plan ahead by saving now for their children's future," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud to expand this program to reach even more students in schools across Boston. Even a small amount over time can make a big difference, and I encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity to prepare our children for a bright future ahead."

Schools that will join the pilot cohort this fall include the Haynes Early Education Center in Roxbury, the West Zone Early Learning Center in Jamaica Plain, the Martin Luther King K-8 School in Dorchester, the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston, the Winship Elementary School in Brighton, and the Mattahunt Elementary School in Mattapan.

At the launch events, parents and students were invited to access their CSA through an online platform created in partnership with InvestCloud. The platform allows families to link any savings, checking or 529 account to a secure online platform that makes it easy to save, earn rewards, track progress and gain financial tips.

To date, the schools that have launched CSAs include: the Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown, the James Otis Elementary School in East Boston, the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 in Hyde Park, Conley Elementary School in Roslindale, and the McKay K-8 School in East Boston.

The program, run by the Mayor's Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), has three goals:

  1. Set expectations that every child in Boston will enroll in and complete some form of post-secondary education or training.
  2. Increase the percentage of Boston's children who graduate from high school and the percentage of BPS graduates who enroll in and complete college or some form of post-secondary education or training.
  3. Increase Boston's children and families' financial capability to help create lifelong savings and investment habits, a key for success in college and beyond.

Possessing a Children's Savings Account can positively impact children's and families' mindsets towards post-secondary education and training. Research and practice across the country strongly suggest that CSAs are an effective tool in impacting higher education outcomes: families with CSAs are more likely to see college as a goal for their children, and low-income children with $500 or less in a savings account, dedicated to higher education, have been shown to be three times more likely to enroll and four times more likely to graduate from college.

All kindergarten (K2) students at the selected pilot schools will have an initial seed deposit of $50 set aside for them. Families will be able to save for post-secondary education and training, and will have opportunities to earn incentives along the way.

The pilot program is supported by various private foundations, including the Eos Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by investing in children's future. Programmatic support is provided by Metro Credit Union, the Boston Educational Development Foundation, and ReadBoston, with financial literacy support from OFE, Junior Achievement, the Blue Hills Bank Foundation, and Santander Bank.

Building on OFE's mission to build, grow and reinforce a holistic financial inclusion strategy for the City of Boston, OFE has been awarded a two year grant from the National League of Cities' "Cities Building Systems to Promote Financial Inclusion" to support the CSA program. Boston was one of eight cities chosen to participate in a Mayor's Institute on Financial Inclusion in April 2016 to receive in-depth technical assistance. The participating cities were invited to apply for up to two rounds of funds from a grant pool of $15,000-$50,000 based on the proposed project and budget.

For more information about Boston Saves, please visit here.