Mayor Walsh kicks off launch of Children's Savings Account program
February 16, 2017
Mayor Martin J. Walsh tonight will celebrate the launch of Boston Saves, the City's Children's Savings Account (CSA) program, at the Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown. 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. The Harvard-Kent is one of five schools selected as part of a pilot phase to prepare the City for a universal rollout in Fall 2019.
"Children's Savings Accounts are building blocks of opportunity and are important savings tools," said Mayor Walsh. "I am excited to join with students, parents, school leaders and community partners to celebrate our collective investment in our students' future. Even a small amount over time can make a big difference, and there is no better time than now to begin saving for the future."
At the event, parents and students are 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.
"We jumped at the opportunity to provide our financial technology tools to power this outstanding new program by Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston," said John Wise, CEO of InvestCloud, Inc. "Boston families deserve a savings plan that helps them easily and efficiently plan for the future. InvestCloud software will allow parents access to their children's accounts anytime, on a platform that's simple and easy to use. We think that this program will be a game-changer for the city's families, and we're thrilled to be on board."
To date, four of the five schools included in the pilot program have launched CSAs, including: the Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown, the James Otis Elementary School in East Boston, the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 in Hyde Park and Conley Elementary School in Roslindale. The McKay K-8 School in East Boston is scheduled to launch the program in early March 2017.
"The Harvard-Kent School community is very excited for this opportunity to teach our Kindergarten students how to save money for college," said Harvard-Kent School Principal Jason Gallagher. "Financial literacy is an important skill to learn, especially at a young age, and we are thrilled to teach this concept to our students through the Children's Savings Account program."
The program, run by the Mayor's Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), has three goals:
- Set expectations that every child in Boston will enroll in and complete some form of post-secondary education or training.
- 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.
- 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 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.