Resources / Reports / Better Together: Policies That Link Children’s Savings Accounts With Access Initiatives to Pave the Way to College

Better Together: Policies That Link Children’s Savings Accounts With Access Initiatives to Pave the Way to College

Published May 2017
focus area Affordability & Need-Based Aid

Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are proven tools designed to help low- and moderate-income families save for college and build students’ expectations for attendance. But for many low-income families who can benefit most from these tools, the challenge to save and pay for college is underscored by systemic barriers connected to income and wealth inequality. This makes it difficult for many to set aside even modest amounts of money for future education after covering more immediate expenses.

State and local policymakers, as well as CSA program leaders can help.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) co-authored Better Together: Policies That Link Children’s Savings Accounts With Access Initiatives to Pave the Way to College. The report details how policymakers and CSA program leaders who are seeking equity-minded strategies can support low-income families save and pay for college by:

  • Integrating CSAs with broader college affordability initiatives, such as well-designed college promise programs;
  • Integrating CSAs with social services that address families’ holistic financial needs; and
  • Implementing CSA programs alongside robust community engagement efforts to build trust and encourage participation.

CSAs can help bridge college access and affordability divides between low-income and higher-income families. By adopting these equity-minded strategies, policymakers and program leaders can help more families improve wealth building, increase postsecondary attainment, and support intergenerational mobility for students.

This report and our research into issues of students’ access and success in postsecondary education were made possible through generous support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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