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Boston Saves expands city cash gift to youngsters

The city of Boston is to give every child in nursery a $50 dollar nest-egg to help them and their families plan for the future.

It’s an expansion of the city’s successful Boston Saves initiative, set up in 2016, which was initially designed to give young people in city schools a financial head-start.

Around 1,600 students from 11 schools have so far benefited from the scheme, and this latest initiative will provide all children starting this autumn at K2 kindergarten level with an account credited with $50 to support their future education and career training.

‘We believe in you’

Brenda Cassellius, Boston Public Schools Superintendent, said: “Every child deserves to hear the message ‘We believe in you and you can do anything’ from the first minute they walk through our school doors.

“The Boston Saves program helps us send that message and is a valuable resource to help families get a jump start on planning for their child’s future. I encourage every family whose child is entering kindergarten this year to participate so they can take advantage of all of the wonderful benefits of the program.”

Boston Saves started as a pilot programme supported by the city, a $800,000 investment from the Eos Foundation and other private investors. It was set up with the input of families, and this has been reflected in the scheme’s high take-up rate. Nearly half of all eligible families have so far participated.

‘Essential part’

Martin J Walsh, Mayor of Boston, said: “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. 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.”

Families can grow money in their through incentives whereby the city will add funds on top of what extra funds that families add. They can track their savings online, and schools and nurseries will also hold family events and classroom activities designed teach children that saving can be fun.

Esmirna Soto, the parent of a student at Roosevelt School, one of the participants, said: “My family’s participation in the Boston Saves program has brought up important family discussions about college and financial planning early on. The experience has been great because the earlier we save, the more our child will benefit over time. He benefits by knowing that we are not only expecting him to attend college or some form of higher education, but that we are also financially planning for it.”

‘Growing in popularity’

Boston Public Schools says research has shown that just the presence of savings can motivate post-secondary success. In one study, low-income children with less than $500 in an account dedicated to higher education were three times more likely to enrol in college and four times more likely to graduate from college.

While Boston is one of the few major cities with its own children’s savings account (CSA) program, they are growing in popularity nationwide. In 2018 the number of children served by CSA schemes in the US grew by 20 per cent, The state of Massachusetts, where Boston is located, also operates a CSA program, SeedMA Baby Steps, which will be available to all newly born or adopted children in the state starting in 2020.

Author: Simon Weedy

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