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Creating a Financial Stake in College - a four-part series by Professor Elliott

Thursday, January 26, 2012

William Elliott III, assistant professor of social welfare at KU, issued the series "Creating a Financial Stake in College" through the New America Foundation and the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Elliott is a Faculty Associate at CSD, and a Senior Research Fellow in the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation.

The four-part series of reports focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals. This series of reports presents evidence from a set of empirical studies conducted by Elliott and colleagues on children’s savings research, with an emphasis on low-income children, relevant to large-scale policy proposals. One such proposal, The ASPIRE Act, would encourage savings by opening an account for every newborn child, seeding the account with an initial deposit and progressively matching contributions, and designating accumulated resources to support post-secondary education or other targeted uses such as homeownership or retirement. Collectively, these reports build on the compelling observation that children with savings in their name are given a stake in their future. As such, they are more inclined to take control over their educational experience and feel more empowered to attend college and persist through graduation.

Report I: Why Policymakers Should Care about Children's Savings (January 5, 2012)

The first report presents a case for why policymakers should care about promoting savings, especially among children from lower income families. The report presents evidence on the relationship between children’s savings and college success and provides the context for a broader discussion of designing children’s savings policies and ensuring that they offer children a meaningful financial stake in college.

Report II: Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account? (January 12, 2012)

The second report presents evidence that structural inequalities have created an unequal playing field for low-income families and their children to build assets. Children in families with higher incomes and greater assets are more likely to have relationships with banks and access to other institutional structures that support savings.

Report III: We Save, We Go to College (January 19, 2012)

The third report presents additional evidence of a link between savings and children’s college progress. Given the well documented disparities in college attendance and completion rates by socio-economic class, and the increasingly critical role that education plays in employment and economic mobility, a primary question for the 21st century is, “How do we achieve greater access to college and higher college completion rates for more of America’s children?”

Report IV: Ideas for Refining Children's Savings Accounts Proposals (January 26, 2012)

The final report examines ways to refine Children’s Savings Account (CSA) proposals, such as the ASPIRE Act, so they more effectively build on recent theoretical and empirical work in the field by presenting specific policy ideas that can be incorporated into the policy design process.

These reports, along with additional resources, can be found in the Program Archives of the Asset Building Program on the New America Foundation website and in the Publications Database at the Center for Social Development as part of the College Success project.

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