6 Facts Showing Why the US Needs Children's Savings Accounts

Last month, Prosperity Now released its 2019 Scorecard, a comprehensive resource for data on household financial health, racial economic disparities and relevant policy recommendations. Countless members of the Prosperity Now community have used previous iterations of the Scorecard to advocate for legislation promoting financial security, consumer protections and tax reform.

Many people have also utilized the Scorecard’s findings to promote Children’s Savings Account (CSA) legislation and policies. For example, educational inequities in Nevada—the state currently ranks 46th in four-year college graduation rates—helped spur the creation of a public-private partnership between the 1:1 Fund, Gift of College and the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office to encourage low-income Nevada parents to open 529 college savings plans in 2017. The 2018 Scorecard’s findings around the disparities between racial and ethnic groups in Saint Paul—fewer than one in five adults of color in Saint Paul have a four-year college degree compared to more than half of White adults—helped inspire Mayor Melvin Carter to create a universal CSA program for his city.

You can use the oodles of data on postsecondary education access at the national, state and local levels in the Scorecard to advocate for children’s savings policies in your community. After all, we know that modest savings can change the odds for low- and moderate-income families. Children with just $500 or less in savings for college are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate.

Here are six facts about education in the US showing why we need more CSA-informed policy, such as the American Opportunity Accounts Act:

  1. Nearly 36 percent of White adults aged 25 or older have a four-year college degree, compared to only 14.7 percent of Native American, 16 percent of Hispanic and 24 percent of Black adults. Learn more.

  2. 43.8 percent of White eighth-grade students perform at or above grade level in math, while only 13.3 percent of Black students and 17.9 percent of Native American students do so. Learn more.

  3. Median student loan debt has increased by 21.4 percent between 2010 to 2017 (from $14,588 to $17,711). Learn more.

  4. More than two in five (21.9 percent) of U.S. credit users have student loan debt. Learn more.

  5. Less than one in 10 (9.4 percent) of Whites aged 16-24 are neither in school nor employed (known as “disconnected youth”). But 17.9 percent of Black adults and 23.9 percent of Native Americans are considered as such. Learn more.

  6. Nearly nine of 10 (88.3 percent) of White students graduate from high school, but only 74 percent of Black students and 79.3 percent of Hispanic students graduate. Learn more.

You can find resources on CSA programs and policies here. To receive ongoing information on the children’s savings field, sign up for the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future newsletter at savingsforkids.org.

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