SAN FRANCISCO--The Kindergarten to College (K2C) children’s savings accounts program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide matched college savings accounts for San Francisco children attending public kindergarten, has received budgetary funding, making the program a reality. The program—a partnership between EARN, the nation’s leading provider of matched savings accounts for low-income workers, the City of San Francisco and CFED—is to begin pilot implementation in fall 2010.
“This is a huge win for the city of San Francisco, for every child in the city, and for every family,” says Ben Mangan, President and CEO of EARN, which will match the savings of every low-income family participating in the pilot program. “Research shows that children with college savings accounts are seven times more likely to go to college than those who don’t have a college account. Simply having the account provides a tremendous impact, regardless of the specific amount of money saved. What these matched savings accounts really do is begin to change people’s perceptions and expectations about higher education. From day one of Kindergarten, San Francisco parents can assure themselves that their children are on the path to college.”Children’s savings accounts represent a well-known strategy to promote savings and economic mobility. These universal, long-term, asset-building accounts are seeded with public funding that grows over time with additional deposits from families themselves and interest. San Francisco’s K2C initiative promises to open a college savings account for children entering kindergarten in the City’s public schools, with an opening deposit of $50 from the City of San Francisco. EARN plans to provide a $120K match—a $100 bump for each of 1,200 low-income students (defined here as eligibility for free or reduced priced public school lunch) as one of the program’s most important partners.
“Studies have shown that this is a tool that very effectively addresses asset inequality, leveling the playing field and giving children a tangible boost,” says Mangan. “The successful implementation of San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College program could serve as a framework for national models.”
ABOUT THE KINDERGARTEN TO COLLEGE PARTNERSHIP
Kindergarten to College is an initiative of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, Office of the Treasurer, the Department of Children, Youth, & Their Families and the San Francisco Unified School District. EARN and CFED (the Corporation for Enterprise Development) are the City’s key nonprofit partners; CFED is working closely with the San Francisco city agencies to develop a design and implementation plan. Partnerships with financial institutions, local and national nonprofits, and philanthropic individuals and organizations will be critical to the initiative’s success.
EARN is an award-winning California-based nonprofit that gives low-income workers the power to create economic prosperity for their families for generations to come. Since 2001, EARN has helped tens of thousands of low-wage families through innovative financial products including matched savings accounts, checking accounts for the unbanked, micro-loans, and money management coaching. EARN’s powerful combination of lasting assets and financial know-how enables families to build wealth and achieve life-changing goals such as saving for college, purchasing first homes, or starting small businesses. Through its policy and research arm, EARN evaluates its impact and reports on new data regularly, sharing lessons learned and best practices in order to transform the financial services landscape and to champion effective public policies. EARN’s ultimate vision is that millions of well-informed, low-income American families will achieve financial success through proven strategies, fair public policy, and their own hard work. Visit www.earn.org or follow us on http://twitter.com/EarnOrg.