Jan. 5, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
A new non-profit has launched a program to help students save for college, beginning with children in School District 30 that includes large sections of Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Long Island City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The Child Savings Account initiative, run through non-profit NYC Kids RISE with help from private sponsors, will allocate $100 in to scholarship accounts for about 3,500 students in District 30 this coming fall, with up to $200 in matching funds over the first three years.
Incoming Kindergarten students in the district will automatically be enrolled pilot program, which is free.
Following the pilot program, which is expected to include about 10,000 children over the three-year period, the organization hopes to expand it to eventually provide a college savings account to all public school students in the city.
“All of NYC’s kids deserve the chance to attend college and pursue their dreams, regardless of their family’s economic status. Today we’re announcing a savings account for thousands of children in Queens, which we know will dramatically increase their likelihood of getting a college degree,” de Blasio said. “We hope to see this program continue to grow so families across the five boroughs can start saving early for their children’s future.”
The Gray Foundation, a private group, provided up to $10 million in seed funding for the program, which will work in collaboration with the city’s 529 College Savings Program, which helps families invest and save for college.
Through the two programs, students will be able to participate in both a scholarship component and a family savings component of the program. Both the scholarship and family savings will be invested in the 529 Direct Plan, so all funds will have the potential to benefit from compounding earnings with tax benefits. The family savings option will allow family members to contribute.
“Mindy and I believe that all children should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. We are excited to partner with the City of New York to pilot this impactful program in District 30 in Queens. NYC Kids RISE will help public school students plan and save for higher education at an early age, improve financial literacy, and expand the benefits from long-term investing to all families,” said Jon Gray, co-founder of the Gray Foundation.
The city chose District 30 for the pilot program after studying all school districts to find one that was representative of the public school population with respect to poverty levels, ethnicity, English language learners, and students with disabilities, and also had the infrastructure in place to support the pilot program.
For information on District 30, click here.