Can a college savings account change a child’s trajectory?
(NewsNation) — The cost of college is so high that Some families are prevented from participating common.
Families who can afford it can start a college savings plan, sometimes called a 529 plan, but that’s not available to everyone in the United States.
Oakland-based nonprofit Oakland Promise is attempting to Brilliant Baby Project. Oaklanders who are Medicaid-eligible and recently had a baby can get a $500 College Savings Account (CSA).
The program also offers free financial guidance and educational programs designed to support children’s development.
“There’s a lot of research on how financial stress — the taxing nature of financial stress makes it harder to focus on everything … We want to reduce financial stress and increase focus and optimism on early development,” said Amanda Feinstein, a Child development specialist who previously founded and directed the Brilliant Baby program.
Researchers examine the impact of the program Parents’ educational wishes after the child turns 18 months old.
Past research shows that children of parents who did not go to college Often have low educational expectations.
University of Chicago researcher Marc Hernandez, who helped lead the study, explained how he himself was a first-generation college student and how his family was skeptical of higher education.
“I remember talking to my grandfather, he didn’t go to college. Like, why do you need to go to college?” he said.
Hernandez set up When parents received seed money, they had increased expectations for their children’s academic success, hope for the future, better self-rated health, and less stress.
Parents who received financial guidance on top of seed money were more likely to save for their children’s education and more likely to participate in the Women’s, Infants and Children’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC) program.
Seed funding for CSAs has become an increasingly popular program across the country. Take Pennsylvania for example, Been giving $100 for seed accounts Applies to every baby born on or after January 1, 2019.
Hernandez said that while the effects on parents are gradually being reported, the long-term impact of the programs on children is unclear because they are so new.
“As far as I know, there’s no data that … CSA has any long-term impact on going to college, because the oldest program doesn’t exist yet,” he said.
Only one other project, Oklahoma’s good seedis part of an ongoing long-term study, Hernades said.
Back in Oakland, the recipients of Smart Babies are just starting kindergarten.
While the short-term reports are promising, the long-term goal is to understand whether the program affects families’ attitudes and behaviors and helps them improve their educational success.
Hernades can’t put a kid through college on just $500.
“Since that $500 is going to get them there, other things are happening. What’s changing? Well, one of the things that we think is going to change is how parents see and interact with their kids,” he said.
While the long-term benefits of Brilliant Baby are still being studied, Feinstein said community members affected by it have described how it has changed their attitudes.
“In some ways, it’s like starting out and knowing that the community, the government… also cares about investing in your children. When we talk to Brilliant Baby’s family, they often say that the Oakland community also cares about my children. To me It’s important,” she said.