In our modern economy, a college degree is still the primary way that children can become self-sufficient and contributing adults. Unfortunately for many students -- especially in low-income areas -- lack of sufficient savings for college has been a barrier to higher educational attainment, limiting opportunities for future economic success.
What was the problem?
What is the solution?
Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs) have the capacity to change an entire family's mental, emotional, and economic health. The effects of saving for a child's education often spillover into changing the family's spending and saving patterns. The College Kids program sets up a CSA for each child entering Kindergarten in a public school in St. Louis. Each student receives a seed account with $50, and has the chance to build the account via incentives for good grades, perfect attendance, and family participation in financial wellness programs.
More than 25% of St. Louis students are currently enrolled in the attendance incentive and the first cohort of 3,143 kindergarten students has completed their first year of the program. Enrollment is expected to grow by around 4,000 students annually.
The program is supported by a partnership of public and private stakeholders, in addition to Treasurer Jones' office: St. Louis Public District and Charter Schools, VistaShare, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo, and Washington University in St. Louis.