United Way has been part of the planning team for a citywide initiative to open Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) to help students save, plan, and pay for education costs after high school. United Way has committed to fundraising the cost of seeding and maintaining accounts.
Beginning the 2018-19 school year, all Milwaukee K5 kindergarteners enrolled in public, charter, and private schools will be given a CSA with an initial balance of $25 (26,400 children by the end of the 2020-21 school year). Savings matches and rewards for academic achievement will become incorporated as the initiative grows.
Research shows that having even small educational savings raises children’s expectations for their future and can increase the level of education that they attain. Students from low-income families who have between $1-$499 saved for college are 3x more likely to attend college, and 4x more likely to graduate than those whose families do not have college savings.
The CSA qualified tuition plans (also known as 529 college savings plans) are managed through Edvest, a Wisconsin state-sponsored college savings plan.