CSAs: Coming Soon to a City or State Near You!

As part of the Campaign for Every Kid's Future, Prosperity Now has set out an audacious goal of connecting 1.4 million children with a Children's Savings Account (CSA) by 2020. Achieving this goal will require big, bold new programs in states and large cities. That's why we're excited to see the emergence of many new policy proposals and legislation across the country that would create, expand or test out children's savings options. It's clear that opportunities are ripe for expanding publicly-supported CSA programs in many states and cities over the next few years.

Here are a few highlights of recent developments:

  • Colorado: A bipartisan bill is pending in the Colorado legislature to create the Aspire to College program, a three-year pilot CSA program run by the state's Department of Human Services (CODHS) and targeted towards low-income pre-school children. Prosperity Now provided extensive technical support to CODHS in designing the program.
  • Maryland: Maryland Democratic legislative leaders have proposed a match of up to $250 per year for families making contributions into the state's 529 college savings plan. The match rate would be on a sliding scale based on income, with families earning under $100,000 needing to deposit only $25 to earn the $250 match. While Prosperity Now would prefer the proposal's authors lower the annual income cap for the match from $225,000 to ensure that the bulk of the match goes to households of modest means, the idea shows promise.
  • Baltimore, Md: DeRay McKesson, a candidate for Baltimore Mayor and leading activist for Campaign Zero and Black Lives Matter, has called for the creation of a CSA program providing an account for every student in Baltimore schools.
  • Washington State: Rep. Christine Kilduff proposed a bill in the Washington House to create a universal CSA program for every child born or adopted in the state. Each child would receive a $250 initial deposit, with low-income children eligible for an additional $250 in match.

Prosperity Now and the Campaign for Every Kid's Future will continue to support and promote these and other efforts to help more children have the opportunity to build savings for a future that includes postsecondary education. Your organization can lend its support by signing on as a Campaign partner. Email Shira Markoff for more information.

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