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Mayor announces five BPS schools will participate in children’s savings account pilot


Mayor Martin Walsh announced that the Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program will launch at five Boston Public Schools in fall 2016, giving families the opportunity to create a long-term savings plan for college, post-secondary education and training. The five schools are part of a learning cohort to help the city design a universal roll out in fall 2019, and this pilot phase will allow the city to troubleshoot before the full launch.

“One of the most important things we can do for our children in the City of Boston is put them on a pathway to success by bridging education and financial opportunities, and planning in advance for their future,” Walsh said. “A Children’s Savings Account is a tool that every family should have access to and I am thrilled to launch this pilot program to help level the playing field for students of all backgrounds and make their dreams of college and post-secondary education become a reality.”

Selected as the result of an open application process, the CSA pilot program will be launched at the Harvard Kent Elementary School in Charlestown, the James Otis Elementary School in East Boston, the McKay K-8 School in East Boston, the Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 in Hyde Park and Conley Elementary School in Roslindale.

The program, run by the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment, has three goals:

  • Create a college-going culture in Boston and set expectations that every child in Boston will enroll in and complete some form of college 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 students at the selected pilot schools will have an initial seed deposit 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.

“Preparing for educational and career paths are so compelling when it is integrated at an early age,” said Trinh Nguyen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “Every child, regardless of income, race, and gender deserves to make their dream of post-secondary education and college come true. The CSA is a powerful tool to align community partners, parents, teachers and students’ to work towards building this culture.”

“We are grateful for the support of the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the EoS Foundation for helping our students and families in this important area,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang. “Financial literacy and empowerment are important factors to success in college, career, and life, and must be an essential goal for every student and family in Boston Public Schools.”

CSAs are expected to be rolled out city wide in fall 2019, and the three-year pilot will allow the city to troubleshoot before the full launch.

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 futures.

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 and will participate in a Mayors’ Institute on Financial Inclusion in April 2016 and receive in-depth technical assistance. The participating cities are invited to apply for up to two rounds of funds from a grant pool from $15,000 – $50,000 based on the proposed project and budget.