Save for College Program

It can be tough to save for college. For many parents, sending their children to college may seem out of reach.

Research shows that children who attend college earn a significantly higher salary over their lifetimes.1 Research also shows that children with even a small savings account of $1 to $500 are three times more likely to enroll in college and more than four times more likely to graduate.2

NYC Kids RISE, in partnership with the City of New York and the Department of Education, started the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program to empower families to begin saving and planning for college from their child’s very first days of school.

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s futures. It’s a scholarship and savings program designed to make college more accessible and achievable for all NYC public school students, starting with all kindergartners, first-, and second-graders in School District 30 in Queens—regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

By providing upfront scholarships for every eligible student and the tools and information for families to develop their own college savings plans, the Save for College Program empowers families to build a foundation for their child’s future. The Save for College Program will also engage the entire community to help our children realize their college dreams.

Program Elements

The Save for College Program has five elements
that work together to make college more accessible
and achievable for all participants.

  • 1

    An NYC Scholarship Account with funds from NYC Kids RISE for every participating student

    NYC Kids RISE will automatically deposit an initial $100 into an NYC Scholarship Account for every District 30 kindergartner, unless their parent/guardian chooses not to participate. Families can receive additional funds for their child’s scholarship account by taking certain steps like signing up on the NYC Kids RISE website to track their account.

    The scholarship funds will be invested in the NY 529 Direct Plan, a type of account specifically designed to help families save for school. The scholarship account can gain or lose money over time, depending on financial markets and the performance of the investment. That means the amount available in a child’s NYC Scholarship Account when that child attends college may be more or less than the amounts originally deposited into the account.

  • 2

    Information and tools for every family to a create college savings plan that make sense for them

    To build on the money invested in their child’s scholarship account, parents/guardians of kindergartners in District 30 will also have an opportunity to open their own college savings account. Parents, guardians, relatives, and friends can contribute directly to this account and track their savings balance alongside their child’s NYC Scholarship Account.

    After participating students receive their scholarship accounts, NYC Kids RISE will provide more information to families on how to create a college savings plan that makes sense for them. Starting in January, parents/guardians and family members of participating students will be invited to workshops to learn more about college savings options and financial empowerment resources available to them.

  • 3

    A way for communities to work together to invest in their children’s college savings by contributing to the scholarship accounts

    Other members of the community, including community organizations and businesses, will also be able to contribute to the scholarship accounts and help the accounts grow over time, subject to potential investment gains or losses.

  • 4

    Events and campaigns that reinforce the expectation of attending college in schools and across neighborhoods

    NYC Kids RISE will work with schools and community organizations to launch campaigns and events in District 30 neighborhoods that reinforce expectations of college attendance and graduation for all students. Community organizations can also support college expectations by integrating discussions of college attendance and savings into their existing programming.

  • 5

    Financial education in kindergarten classrooms

    The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program includes an optional financial education curriculum for students that will begin in participating schools’ kindergarten classrooms in fall 2017.

Getting Started

There are three simple steps to start participating
in the Save for College Program:


Who is eligible to participate in the Save for College Program?

In this initial phase, all kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students attending a District 30 public school in Queens can participate. Every eligible student attending a District 30 public school from the beginning to the end of one of the Save for College Program’s “opt-out waves” will be automatically enrolled in the program, unless their family chooses not to participate. After the three-year pilot in District 30, the Save for College Program hopes to expand to all NYC public schools.

Why was District 30 chosen as the first participating school district?

School District 30 was selected as the first participating school district for the Save for College Program because its population reflects New York City’s public school population as a whole. The District also has strong school- and community-based partners to support and spread the word about the new Save for College Program.

Where can I find more information about the Save for College Program?

Additional information and resources about the Save for College Program are available on the pages for Parents/Guardians, School Partners, and Community Members. For further information, please contact NYC Kids RISE.


The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a scholarship and savings program administered by NYC Kids RISE, Inc., a nonprofit, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York. NYC Kids RISE is neither affiliated with, nor an authorized distributor of, New York’s 529 College Savings Program and does not solicit investments or provide investment advice.

1. College-educated employees have a median salary that is 84% higher than employees without a college degree and are about half as likely to be unemployed. See Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment Status of the Civilian Population 25 Years and Over by Educational Attainment” (June 2013 – 2014), available at the BLS website

2. See, for example, Elliott, William, Hyun-a Song, and Ilsung Nam. “Small-Dollar Children’s Savings Accounts and Children’s College Outcomes by Income Level.” Children and Youth Services Review 35, no. 3 (March 2013): 560–71. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.12.003.

Stay Connected