Recent Expansion Reflects Broad Appeal of Children’s Savings Programs

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) expand economic and educational opportunity for low-income youth. That’s why CSAs have a broad-based appeal that resonates with diverse audiences across the United States. Case in point: pilot programs in New York City and Arkansas are launching this fall, and Prosperity Now is eagerly anticipating the ways these programs will inspire college dreams in their respective communities. 

New York City is set to enroll the first cohort of approximately 3,500 children from a school district in Queens in the NYC Kids RISE program this fall. This program is part of a three-year pilot which, if successful, could expand to all kindergarten students in New York City.  

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Treasurer’s Office has revamped the Aspiring Scholars Matching Grant program. Whereas the original program matched low-income savers’ contributions to accounts in the state-sponsored 529 plan, the revamped program will instead fund community-based CSA efforts. In one pilot, the Treasurer’s Office is partnering with Crowley’s Ridge Development Council to open CSAs for first-graders in Poinsett County. It is also partnering with the University of Arkansas to provide up to 200 Marshallese Americans with 529 accounts seeded with between $100 and $200. 

And the momentum keeps building. Over the next year, two CSA programs will launch in Michigan. The Community Foundation for Muskegon County, a Campaign for Every Kid’s Future partner, will automatically open savings accounts with a $50 initial deposit for every kindergarten student in the county, a population of about 2,000. And, an anonymous couple from Port Sanilac doubled the initial deposit for the Sanilac County Community Foundation’s new CSA program so that each of the 500 participating children will start with $100 in their accounts instead of $50. 

Elsewhere in the country, existing CSA programs are growing. As part of Promise Indiana’s expansion, several counties in Indiana are enrolling new cohorts of children. Oakland Promise’s Kindergarten to College program is doubling in size to 36 schools this year to serve 1,000 additional families. And the Boston Saves program is expanding to six more schools, bringing its total enrollment to 800 students.  

Taken together, these are significant steps toward making it easier for low-income families in big cities and small towns to build savings for postsecondary education. Prosperity Now continues to foster the growth of the CSA field by providing technical assistance to new programs, advocating for CSA programs at the state and local levels, offering learning opportunities to new and existing programs, and supporting programs’ fundraising efforts through the 1:1 Fund. If you’d like to support these efforts, please join the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future today.  

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