What is the Save for College Program?

Welcome to the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program!

We are so excited to be working with families, schools, and communities to save for students’  futures, together.

It can be tough to save for college and career training. For many families, saving and planning for higher education may seem out of reach.

Research 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. Research also shows that children who attend college earn a significantly higher salary over their lifetimes.

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 and career training more accessible and achievable for all NYC public school students, starting in kindergarten—regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

By providing upfront scholarships for every eligible student, tools and information for families to develop their own college and career savings plans, and a way for entire communities to invest in their children, the Save for College Program enables all of us to work together to build assets and support expectations of educational and economic success for every child.

Good news! If eligible, your child will be automatically enrolled in the Save for College Program unless you choose not to participate. You do not have to do anything to enroll and receive a free NYC Scholarship Account. If you do not wish to participate please visit the NYC Department of Education website for more instructions.

Program Elements

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

  • 1

    Providing an NYC Scholarship Account for every participating student

    Unless their parent/guardian chooses not to participate by opting out, every kindergartener enrolled in a NYC public school (including participating charter schools), automatically receives a NYC Scholarship Account with a $100 initial investment by NYC Kids RISE and up to $200 in additional rewards. The scholarship funds are invested in the NY 529 Direct Plan, a type of tax-advantaged account specifically designed to help people save for higher education.

  • 2

    Supporting families with the tools and information to develop their own savings plan

    After activating their child’s NYC Scholarship Account, a family can open and connect a college and career savings account that they own for the benefit of their child. Then, they can start saving money in ways and amounts that make sense for their financial circumstances

  • 3

    Supporting communities to work together to invest in their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts

    Businesses, organizations, institutions and others can contribute to groups of the NYC Scholarship Accounts to further increase the money in each child’s account and demonstrate their community’s support for every child’s success.

  • 4

    Reinforcing the expectation of attending college and career training

    Milestone events, activities and campaigns in schools and across neighborhoods help students dream big about what’s possible for their futures.

  • 5

    Teaching financial education in the classroom

    Students receive age-appropriate financial education starting in Kindergarten.

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.

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