This week, Admiral Center partner, New York Giants’ star Justin Tuck and his wife Lauran joined the Children’s Aid Society (CAS); Living Cities member, the Citi Foundation; and the 1:1 Fund to launch a new initiative that aims to help low-income New York City children and their families to save and plan for college.
For low-income children, savings accounts and financial education can be vital in terms of attaining a college degree. Right now, noted Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer of the Citi Foundation, less than 10% of students from low-income families graduate from college by their mid-twenties. But, a recent study conducted by the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas found that children with as little as $500 in savings are three times more likely to enroll in college, and four times more likely to graduate. And, with general consensus that education is a key indicator of long-term economic success, connecting more low-income students to college can be a transformational poverty and inequality fighting solution.
The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) College Savers pilot program will provide specifically designed college savings accounts to 100 first and second graders at the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School in the South Bronx; and to older students participating in the CAS African American Male Initiative. The Tucks who both graduated from the University of Notre Dame and believe strongly in the power of college education to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, are providing initial funding for the program–a $100 seed deposit per student– through a $100,000 grant from their philanthropic initiative, Tuck’s R.U.S.H for Literacy. And, with support from the Citi Foundation and the 1:1 Fund, students will receive dollar-for-dollar matched contributions of up to $100 during the first school year, and additional matches and incentives as families continue to grow the accounts.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked Justin Tuck to a room full of excited Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School students at the launch.
“And, how many of you are going to college?” he continued. All hands in the room shot up. And, with smart saving, these kids have more than dreams for academic and career success: They have a plan.