Research shows that students with as little as $500 set aside for college are four times more likely to enroll in college, and three times more likely to graduate than their peers without dedicated savings. These insights led to the creation of the Boston Saves program, administered by the Mayor’s Office, which provides every kindergarten Boston Public Schools (BPS) student with a $50 seed savings account. It grows with the child for 13 years — or until they are ready to pursue post-secondary education or career training.
How it helps
The Boston Saves program aims to develop and promote a future-oriented culture for students and families, and to connect Boston’s families — of whom 33 percent do not have any liquid assets — to asset-building opportunities.
“Boston Saves is as much psychological as financial; it shows our kids how we believe in their future, and that we’re on the same team for college planning. The financial accounts really jumpstart that family conversation attending college, and then periodic incentives keep the conversation fresh while everyone works towards a goal.”Michael Banchick, parent of a Boston Saves student
An online portal helps families of BPS kindergartners track their savings progress for their children. This “Savings Center” enables families to view the $50 in their child’s Boston Saves account, earn more money for the account, and view all of their savings for their child in one place. To encourage further saving, the program also offers monetary incentives to families for linking a financial account (savings, 529, checking, or custodial account) to the Boston Saves online platform, saving regularly in the linked account, reading regularly with their child, and participating in a free financial checkup through the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment. Altogether, a family that accesses every incentive over a student’s K-12 career in BPS would have at least $1,895 saved at high school graduation.
In addition to providing savings accounts, seed funding, and incentives, Boston Saves also offers families free resources and events that can help them prepare for their children’s futures. Representatives in the community, called Family Champions, help enroll families in the Boston Saves program — and keep them working towards incentives via community events and direct outreach. All of these components help make college and post-secondary career training a reality for all BPS families.