Boston Picks 5 Schools For College Savings Pilot Program

The Children's Savings Account program is run by the Office of Financial Empowerment. The city's Roxbury OFE office is seen in this April 2015 file photo. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Children's Savings Account program is run by the Office of Financial Empowerment. The city's Roxbury OFE office is seen in this April 2015 file photo. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Kindergarten students at five Boston public schools will be set up with college savings accounts under a pilot program detailed by the city Wednesday.

The Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program is designed to give families a jump-start on saving for higher education, and to foster a “college-going culture” among more of Boston’s youngest students.

“Every child, regardless of income, race, and gender deserves to make their dream of post-secondary education and college come true,” said  Trinh Nguyen, director of the city’s Office of Workforce Development, in a statement. “The CSA is a powerful tool to align community partners, parents, teachers and students’ to work towards building this culture.”

WBUR first reported about the forthcoming pilot program in April 2015. Wednesday’s announcement reveals the five schools selected for the program, and confirms a start date of fall 2016 for the three-year pilot.

The five schools are:

  • Harvard Kent Elementary School in Charlestown;
  • James Otis Elementary School in East Boston;
  • McKay K-8 School in East Boston;
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt K-8 in Hyde Park;
  • Conley Elementary School in Roslindale.

Families at these schools will receive a seed deposit in their accounts of at least $50. The families can then add to the accounts themselves, and students will have opportunities to earn incentives.

While the incentives were not detailed Wednesday, Nguyen had offered WBUR some examples last year, such as another $50 if the student maintains a certain grade point average, or attends a SAT prep class.

The pilot is supported by various private foundations, the city said.

Following the three-year pilot program, the Walsh administration hopes to roll out the accounts to all Boston kindergarten students in fall 2019.

In its statement, the city cites past research that found that low-income children with $500 or less in a savings account dedicated for higher education are three times more likely to enroll in college.

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