(Cleveland) - Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald held a press conference at Campus International at CSU today to roll out the new College Savings Account program.
Accounts are being established for all public school students who began kindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year.
Each student is receiving $100 dollars to start the account. FitzGerald said the money is from funds saved in the streamlining of county government.
“Access to higher education is one of the most critical pieces of ensuring that our children will enter the workforce prepared for success,” said FitzGerald. “Young people today will be competing in a global economy, and we need to do everything we can to provide them with every possible opportunity to succeed. I am proud that Cuyahoga County is establishing the first countywide college savings account program in the nation in order to promote higher education every young person today.”
The Cuyahoga County College Savings Account program is the first such initiative to establish universal savings accounts at the county level of government.
Welcome packets will be sent out within three weeks to roughly 10,500 households with students in public districts along with a book of deposit slips to promote participation in the initiative.
Ed FitzGerald hands the first account to parent Lucia Johnson.
Students outside the public district systems will also receive welcome packets for the College Savings Account program at a later date.
FitzGerald cited A 2010 study that found young people who expect to graduate from college and have a savings account are about seven times more likely to attend college than their peers.
The accounts are being handled by KeyBank. Market manager Lisa Oliver said she hopes the accounts will encourage children and their parent to improve their financial literacy, and announced that free money management classes will be made available to all the participants in the program.
Approximately 15,000 students enter kindergarten each year in Cuyahoga County through 31 school districts and more than 150 charter, parochial, and independent schools.
Every student enrolled in kindergarten by October 31 of a school year will be eligible to participate, with families reserving the right to opt out at their discretion.
New accounts will then be established for students entering kindergarten on an annual basis each fall.
FitzGerald was joined this afternoon by Lucia Johnson, a single mother whose kindergartner attends school in Cuyahoga Heights. Johnson was given the first of the many College Savings Accounts to be issued by the county
(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)