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Questions and Answers
for Parents/Guardians
Welcome Kit Version
Semester 2

Questions and Answers
for Parents/Guardians

1. What is the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program?

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program provides you, your family, and your community with a way to work together to save for your child’s future. It’s a scholarship and savings program designed to make college more accessible and achievable for your child. By giving upfront scholarships to every student and providing the tools and information for families to develop their own college savings plan, the Save for College Program empowers families to build a foundation for their child’s future. The Save for College Program also engages the entire community to help our children realize their college dreams. The program is open to all kindergartners attending a District 30 public school—regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

2. How does the scholarship part of the Save for College Program work?

NYC Kids RISE automatically deposits $100 into an NYC Scholarship Account for every participating kindergartner.

As your child continues their education, NYC Kids RISE will offer opportunities for your family to earn additional money into this scholarship account. Other members of the community, including community organizations and businesses, can also add to the scholarship accounts to help your child reach their college goals.

The scholarship funds are invested in New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan, a type of account specifically designed to help families save for school. Your child’s NYC 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.

Click here to take the next step and view your child’s NYC Scholarship Account. Register to view the scholarship account by June 26, 2018, and your child will receive an extra $25 from NYC Kids RISE.

3. How does the savings part of the Save for College Program work?

To build on the money invested in your child’s scholarship account, you will have an opportunity to open your own college savings account.

Parents/guardians, family members, and friends can contribute directly to this account. Depending on which option you choose, your family can track your savings balance alongside their child’s NYC Scholarship Account through the NYC Kids RISE website. Visit nyckidsrise.org/options or attend an upcoming Save for College Program workshop for more information about college savings options and how to open an account.

If you open your own college savings account by June 26, 2018, NYC Kids RISE will add another $25 into your child’s scholarship account.

4. How was my child enrolled in the Save for College Program?

All kindergarten students attending a participating school are automatically enrolled in the Save for College Program, unless their family chooses not to participate. If you received this document as part of your Save for College Program Welcome Kit, your child has been enrolled in the program. Your kindergartner was enrolled because:

  1. Your kindergartner was enrolled in a District 30 public school by November 27, 2017, and remained enrolled through January 2018.
  2. You did not sign and return an Opt Out Notice to your child’s school during that time period.

If you believe that your child was enrolled in error, please call the NYC Kids RISE hotline at 833-KID-RISE (833-543-7473).

5. My child has been enrolled. What do I do next?

Education is a key part of every child’s path to success, and your kindergartner is on the path to college with the Save for College Program. Taking the first step can be the hardest part. With the Save for College Program, we’ve already taken the first step together. NYC Kids RISE has opened an NYC Scholarship Account for your child and has deposited an initial $100 into it.

Starting today, you can take three more steps with NYC Kids RISE before your child completes kindergarten. Think of these as the three building blocks of our partnership for your child’s educational future:

  1. Register online to view your child’s NYC scholarship account
  2. Explore your college savings options, open your own college savings account, and connect it to your child’s scholarship account
  3. Deposit at least $5 into your connected college savings account

These are just the first steps in a long-term partnership with NYC Kids RISE, your child’s school, and your community to save money together for your child’s future. Visit nyckidsrise.org and click View My Account to get started.

6. Why was the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program created?

It can be tough to save for college. For many parents, sending their children to college may seem out of reach. NYC Kids RISE, in partnership with the City of New York and the NYC Department of Education, started the Save for College Program to empower families to begin saving and planning for college from their child’s very first days of school. Research shows that children with a college savings account of between $1 and $500 are three times more likely to enroll in college and more than four times more likely to graduate. Research also shows that children who attend college earn a significantly higher salary over their lifetimes and are less likely to be unemployed.

7. How much should I be saving for college on top of my child’s scholarship account?

Every family’s situation is different. College savings are one important piece of a family’s overall financial health. Deciding how much to save for college or career training depends on your individual financial circumstances, including your income, assets, debt, regular expenses, public benefits, and credit. NYC Kids RISE encourages every family to start contributing at whatever amount makes sense for them. Getting started while your child is young can make a big difference, regardless of the amount.

For free, one-on-one support with fitting savings into your overall financial picture, consider visiting one of the NYC Financial Empowerment Centers located throughout the city. At the Financial Empowerment Centers, you can meet one-on-one with a professional financial counselor who can help you tackle debt, improve your credit, create a budget, open a bank account, save and plan for your future, and more. You can also get information about saving for your child’s college education and making a plan to start saving.

To schedule an appointment at a Financial Empowerment Center near you, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/dca.

8. Does participating in the Save for College Program cost anything?

No, enrollment in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is automatic and free of charge. Visit nyckidsrise.org or attend a Save for College Program workshop to learn about low- and no-cost college savings options in addition to your child’s NYC Scholarship Account.

9. How does immigration status affect my ability to participate?

Every child in District 30 can participate in the Save for College Program and receive an NYC Scholarship Account, regardless of the child’s or their family’s immigration status. All families, regardless of immigration status, can also open their own college savings account and begin saving alongside their child’s scholarship account through the program. Visit nyckidsrise.org/options or attend an upcoming Save for College Program workshop to learn more about college savings options that make sense for your family.

Please note that if you choose to open your own college savings account in the NY 529 Direct Plan, you must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien with a verified permanent U.S. address.

10. What can the money in the NYC Scholarship Account be used for?

Money in the NYC Scholarship Account is invested in the NY 529 Direct Plan and can be used only for higher education. This includes two-year and four-year colleges and other career training programs. The scholarship funds can be used for tuition, fees, equipment, some room and-board expenses, and even things like textbooks, which are often not covered by other scholarships. The funds can be used at academic and vocational programs in New York and across the country, as well as at some schools abroad.

Visit nysaves.org for a full list of qualifying higher education expenses. Recent changes in federal tax laws allow certain elementary and secondary (K-12) education expenses to qualify under 529 plans. However, money in the NYC Scholarship Account cannot be used for any K-12 expenses.

11. What if a student in the Save for College Program doesn’t go to college?

A student can only access the money in their NYC Scholarship Account if the student attends a qualifying institution, which includes most two- and four-year colleges as well as specialized training and certification programs. If the student does not claim these funds within 20 years after they complete kindergarten, then those funds will go back to NYC Kids RISE to support future Save for College Program students.

Families can keep any money they deposit into their own college savings account, regardless of whether their student attends a qualifying institution. Depending on the type of college savings account option the family chooses, they may have to pay a tax or penalty to use the money for other expenses besides qualified educational expenses. For more information, visit nyckidsrise.org/options.

12. Who manages the Save for College Program?

NYC Kids RISE manages the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York. NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization working to expand economic opportunity and equity by providing families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s education. Building on the dreams and expectations that families have for their children’s futures, NYC Kids RISE aims to make attending and graduating from college more achievable for all NYC public school students—regardless of where they come from or how much their families have in the bank. Learn more about us at nyckidsrise.org/about.

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

More information about the Save for College Program is available online at nyckidsrise.org or by calling NYC Kids RISE at 833-KID-RISE (833-543-7473).

For more Questions and Answers, click More Information below.

For a list of additional resources, scroll down.

More questions?

If you still have questions or want one-on-one support, use the contact information below:

  • 1

    NYC Kids RISE events and workshops

    • Call the Parent Coordinator or other designated College Savings Liaison at your child’s school
    • Call NYC Kids RISE at 833-KID-RISE (833-543-7473).
      Available Monday – Friday (10:00 am to 5:00 pm)
    • Visit nyckidsrise.org
      • Materials are available in Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, English, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu
  • 2

    NYC Scholarship Accounts

    • Call NYC Kids RISE at 833-KID-RISE (833-543-7473).
      Available Monday – Friday (10:00 am to 5:00 pm)
    • Visit nyckidsrise.org
      • Materials are available in Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, English, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu
  • 3

    NY 529 Direct Plan Accounts and Investment Options

    • Call the NY 529 Direct Plan at (866) 734-4533 to speak with an education savings specialist. Available Monday – Friday (8:00 am – 9:00 pm)
    • Visit nysaves.org
  • 4

    Amalgamated Save for College Bank Accounts

    • Visit a local Amalgamated Bank branch. The closest branch to you may be: 36-16/18 21st Street (between 36th Avenue and 37th Avenue), Long Island City, NY 11106. Available Monday – Thursday (9:00 am – 5:00 pm), Friday (9:00 am – 6:00 pm)
    • Call 800-662-0860. Available Monday – Friday (8:00 am – 8:00 pm), Saturday (9:00 amd – 2:00 pm). Spanish-language support may be available
  • 5

    Setting Goals and Plans for Saving

    • Visit a local NYC Financial Empowerment Center for free, confidential, one-on-one financial counseling. There are more than 20 Financial Empowerment Centers across the city. The three locations closest to School District 30 are listed below (days and hours of operation are subject
      to change):

      • Urban Upbound: 38-85 13th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101. Available Monday – Friday (9:00 am – 6:00 pm), Thursday (11:00 am – 7:00 pm). Languages: English, Spanish
      • The Financial Clinic at Make the Road NY: 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Available Monday, Tuesday, and Friday (10:00 am. – 6:00 pm). Languages: English, Spanish
      • Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners: at Neighborhood Housing Services, Northern Queens 60-20 Woodside Avenue, 2nd Floor,
        Woodside, NY 11377. Available Monday and Wednesday (9:00 am – 6:00 pm). Languages: English, Spanish
    • Call 311 to schedule an appointment at a Financial Empowerment Center
    • Visit nyc.gov/dca to schedule an appointment at a Financial Empowerment Center

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. The City of New York and the NYC Department of Education offer no endorsement or recommendation about, and do not control, own or are affiliated with the program manager for New York’s 529 College Savings Program and any particular college savings or other investment vehicle, including ones which families may learn about through the Save for College Program.

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