Boston Saves, Boston’s children’s savings account program, is expanding from its pilot program to all the city’s public schools starting this fall, Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office announced Monday.
The program provides kindergarteners with a savings account containing $50. Parents can then earn more money from the city through incentive programs that encourage saving, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
For example, if a family saves $25 for their child in three months, Boston Saves will add another $5 to the account. Families can earn up to an extra $65 from the city during the first year, officials said. The money becomes available to the child when they graduate from high school, in order to help pay for college or job training.
“Throughout its three-year pilot program, Boston Saves has proven to be an essential part of providing families with the tools to save for their children’s post-secondary future,” Walsh said in the statement. “I am pleased to announce the citywide expansion of Boston Saves, providing more families with these resources and strengthening the investment we are making in Boston’s youth.”
Boston Saves, launched as a pilot program in 2016 at 11 public schools, received an $800,000 investment from funders . The pilot program provided accounts to 1,600 students — 43 percent of eligible families participated — and families earned an additional $15,000 in incentives during the program, officials said.
An online platform called Savings Center, which will allow families to track the amount of money in their accounts, will roll out later this fall.
Family Champions, a peer support system made up of school families trained by Boston Saves, will be available to explain the program to fellow families in their native languages.
According to one study, the presence of savings accumulated for the purpose of higher education can motivate low-income children to enroll in college and ultimately graduate. In the Boston job market, 75 percent of positions require college or other coursework after high school, according to the MassHire Boston Workforce Board.
Massachusetts also operates its own children’s savings account program called SeedMA Baby Steps Savings Plan , which will become available to newly born or adopted children in 2020.
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