More Than 200,000 Students Now Have NYC Scholarship Accounts with Nearly $30 Million Invested for their College and Career Future
January 11, 2024
Nearly 75,000 New York City elementary school students receive NYC Scholarship Accounts in the 2023-24 school year through the Save for College Program
Elementary schools across the five boroughs celebrate NYC Scholarship Month to encourage families to activate their accounts and dream big for the college and career futures of their children
Celebrating NYC Scholarship Month at P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School in Fordham Heights, the Bronx with NYC Schools Chancellor David C. Banks, NYC Kids RISE Founding Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, New York State Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia, the Office of Congressman Ritchie Torres, Community School District 10 Superintendent Dr. Maribel Hulla, P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School Principal Sara Medina and Alumnus Abe Fernandez, and the Gray Foundation (January 11, 2024). Photo by Bridget Ye for NYC Kids RISE.
NEW YORK—NYC Public Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and NYC Kids RISE Founding Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein were joined by local officials today at P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School in Fordham Heights, the Bronx to announce that more than 200,000 students, including 279 at P.S. 85, now have NYC Scholarship Accounts through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program.
In partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity & Racial Justice and the Gray Foundation, NYC Public Schools and NYC Kids RISE celebrated that nearly $30 million has been invested across the 200,000 students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts for their future college and career training. Parents and guardians of participating students, including the nearly 75,000 students receiving NYC Scholarship Accounts this year, can now activate and view their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts at nyckidsrise.org/activate.
Throughout the five boroughs this January, elementary schools are celebrating NYC Scholarship Month, the first opportunity new families in the Program have to activate and view their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts. As part of these celebrations, school communities across the city are hosting events and activities to support families in completing this critical first step through in-person workshops and one-to-one outreach. At today’s event at P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School, one of 1,000 schools in the Save for College Program, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade families attended the school’s workshop where they activated their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts and viewed funds in the account for their future college and career training.
NYC Public Schools Chancellor David C. Banks, P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School Principal Sara Medina, and NYC Kids RISE Founding Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein and Chief of Staff Jackie Matos support a P.S. 85 parent to activate her second grader’s NYC Scholarship Account.
“NYC Scholarship Month is a tremendous opportunity for school communities and families to collaborate on the actions they can take today with the Save for College Program in preparation for their child’s future,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “I encourage all families in the Program to activate your child’s NYC Scholarship Account today as we begin saving for their higher education, together. We are working with our communities to build on the city’s $100 seed investment in students’ accounts and ensuring that higher education and career training is in reach for our children.”
“NYC Scholarship Month is the first opportunity for new NYC Public School families in the Save for College Program to see the funds already committed for their children’s educational future,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Ana J. Almanzar. “I am proud to celebrate these tangible financial assets for the newest class of kindergarten families and encourage all families who have been automatically enrolled into the Program to activate and view their kids’ NYC Scholarship Accounts today.”
“The citywide celebration of NYC Scholarship Month across NYC public schools and welcoming new students to the Save for College Program is an exciting milestone every school year as it highlights our ongoing commitment to our children’s futures,” said NYC Chief Equity Officer and Commissioner Sideya Sherman, NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity & Racial Justice. “Surpassing 200,000 students is an amazing marker in our work to ensure this universal, community-driven platform jumpstarts successful educational and career opportunities for our students while building wealth across communities.”
“Welcoming kindergarteners, other new students, and their families into the Save for College Program is a significant stride in broadening access to this universal wealth-building tool. designed to allow every part of a child’s community – from schools, to philanthropy, to local businesses, to civic organizations and places of worship – to come together to show support for their children and invest in their futures together,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Founding Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “During Scholarship Month, as elementary schools citywide work with families to activate and explore their scholarship accounts, we commemorate our shared dedication to shaping a future where every child discovers early on that they have opportunities toward success.”
“NYC Scholarship Month is an amazing time to celebrate the future of all children in New York City. I am so proud of the progress we’ve made after taking the Save for College Program from a pilot in the communities of Queens School District 30 to a citywide platform for families in every neighborhood thanks to our public, private, community, and philanthropic partnerships,” said NYC Kids RISE Board Chair and Gray Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dana Zucker. “This milestone celebration reaffirms our commitment to turning our children’s dreams for college and career training into a reality.”
P.S. 85 alumnus Abe Fernandez joined the school’s NYC Scholarship Month celebration to share his college and career journey and remind students that their future is filled with great possibilities. Abe also shared with the kindergarten, first and second grade students and their families that they have received an additional $219 each in their NYC Scholarship Accounts as part of the NYC Public Schools Alumni Community Scholarship, announced last month.
“It is an honor to be back at my elementary school to celebrate NYC Scholarship Month and give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today,” said Abe Fernandez, an alumnus of P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School. “Like the name of our school, the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program shows students that we have great expectations for what is possible for their futures. Whatever these young people’s career aspirations are, they now have an initial seed investment and additional support from the NYC Public Schools Alumni Community Scholarship and potentially other sources to jumpstart their future education.”
“We are excited to support our kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students and families at P.S. 85 to complete steps in the Save for College Program as part of our vision for empowering our youth today for the possibilities of tomorrow,” said P.S. 85 The Great Expectations School Principal Sara Medina. “The additional contribution from our very own alumnus, Abe Fernandez, toward our students’ futures, is an incredible honor and we are so proud to celebrate with him today. The growing funds in our students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts that parents and guardians are seeing today while activating their children’s accounts is part of the important foundation for supporting our students’ educational journeys.”
“Access to higher education and economic opportunity should never be determined by one’s income, race, gender, ethnicity, or zip code, but that has unfortunately been the case for far too long, especially in my community in the Bronx,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres. “Today’s announcement is a great reminder of the opportunities that await every family when their child starts kindergarten at a public school in New York City. We must continue to ensure that all students have support and pathways to pursue whatever path best fits them, whether it be college or career training. The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a core component of the national model for building an educational system that does right by every student.”
“The rising cost of higher education can be daunting, but NYC Kids RISE helps transform the dream of a college education, shared by so many school children and their families, into a reality,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “As trustee of New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan, I am thrilled that more than 200,000 students are now enrolled in the Save for College Program and congratulate NYC Kids RISE for this extraordinary milestone. My thanks to our other partners, including Chancellor Banks and Mayor Adams, for making it easier for New York City’s students to save for their bright futures through the Save for College Program.”
“The Save for College Program sends a message to students and their families across the city that they can dream big about their future, regardless of their family’s income or immigration status,” said New York State Assembly Member Yudelka Tapia. “I am proud to join The Great Expectations School community, NYC Kids RISE, NYC Public Schools, and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity & Racial Justice today in celebrating NYC Scholarship Month and encouraging parents and guardians across the Bronx and beyond to activate and view their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts. This is an exciting opportunity for families—and the neighbors, businesses, and communities surrounding them—to be part of this investment in our youngest students’ future success.”
“It is exciting that the NYC Scholarship Month is being celebrated with students and school communities in The Bronx and to see families take this crucial step to build a bright future for their children,” said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “With the cost of college rising, the Save for College Program is a great tool to prepare New York’s students with tangible assets for higher education. This program reminds families and students that their community is rooting for them and contributing resources for them to succeed.”
“Creating opportunities for early investment in our children’s future is a crucial first step in breaking down the financial barriers to higher education,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Save for College Program is a powerful tool for collective support, enabling community members to plant the seeds for the educational, financial, and personal growth of our public school students. It is a significant achievement that more than 200,000 scholars have access to funds for college and career training. I thank NYC Kids RISE for their leadership to expand this critical initiative.”
“Preparing our children for successful futures begins by making investments into their lives today,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Since expanding the Save for College Program citywide in 2021, NYC Kids RISE has created scholarship accounts for 43,000 Bronx kids to help ensure their preparation for college, trade, and vocational school once they graduate from high school. I am grateful for the work of Founding Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE, Debra-Ellen Glickstein; NYC Schools Chancellor David C. Banks; and NYC Chief Equity Officer and Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice, Sideya Sherman, for providing our children every opportunity to thrive academically and in life.”
“As a lifelong resident of the Bronx and proud graduate of New York City public school education, from elementary school through college, I am excited to celebrate the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program—a real game changer for our students and communities,” said City Council Member Oswald Feliz. “I encourage families to activate and view their children’s accounts to see and be motivated by their funds for college and career training as we build together for their children’s higher education.”
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a community tool New Yorkers can use to build wealth in their neighborhoods and support the college and career dreams of their children, no matter their family income or immigration status. Every student enrolled in NYC public elementary schools (including participating charter schools) starting in kindergarten, automatically receives an NYC Scholarship Account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan with an initial $100, unless they choose not to participate. Families can receive up to $175 in additional rewards for their child’s NYC Scholarship Account when they complete steps in the Program – when they activate the account, open their own college and career savings account, and start saving their own money in the ways and amounts that make sense for them. At the same time, communities can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts in the form of Community Scholarships as both a targeted and universal tool for community-driven assets in every neighborhood. By combining seed scholarships, family savings, community investments, and funding streams from every level, the Program can build significant assets for public school students, especially low-income students of color.
Through this diverse network of partners, the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program seeks to ensure that every NYC public school kindergarten student graduates high school with a financial asset for college and career training, and that students, families, schools, and communities have increased college-and career-going expectations for every child. Research suggests that children with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 are three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate than a child without an account.
As part of NYC Scholarship Month, NYC Kids RISE has provided schools with toolkits, guides, posters, outreach tools, and additional resources, available in multiple languages, to encourage families to activate their child’s NYC Scholarship Account at nyckidsrise.org/activate. For support with activating and viewing their child’s account, families can reach out to their school’s Parent Coordinator, attend an upcoming virtual workshop at nyckidsrise.org/events, email NYC Kids RISE at [email protected], or call the NYC Kids RISE hotline at 833-543-7473.
About NYC Kids RISE
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a community tool New Yorkers can use to build wealth in their neighborhoods and support the college and career dreams of their children. The public-private-community partnership provides NYC public school students, starting in kindergarten, with financial resources for higher education and support from their communities to achieve their goals. Students also receive age-appropriate financial education in the classroom through related curriculum extensions.
NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization managing the Save for College Program in partnership with NYC Public Schools and the City of New York. In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in the communities of Queens School District 30 through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, and the City of New York, with founding and ongoing support from the Gray Foundation. After the successful pilot, the Save for College Program was included in the Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan by the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity. Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, and every year going forward, students in eligible grades enrolled in an NYC public elementary school (including participating charter schools) automatically receive an NYC Scholarship Account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan account with an initial $100 and opportunities to earn more through early rewards and Community Scholarships, unless their families choose not to participate.