BOSTON (CNN) – Monday was the first day of school for kindergartners in Boston public schools, and each one got a special gift…
$50-dollars in their very own savings account!
The money is meant to get families started saving for college.
The budding scholars don’t know they were getting some money today.
“Every child…so over four-thousand kindergartners today…get fifty dollars seed money,” said Gosia Tomaszewska.
Tomaszewska manages Boston Saves.
It started as a pilot project three years ago in eleven schools.
Today it’s in all Boston public kindergartens.
“It kind of makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing.”
Esmirna Soto’s son Ezekial was in the pilot program.
She works for the school system.
“It helps parents start having those conversations early about, you know, planning for college.”
Each student is automatically enrolled in Boston Saves.
They can’t touch the fifty dollars until after high school and only for college or other job training.
Parents can also earn incentive payments.
“They get incentives for linking their accounts, they get incentives for saving regularly.”
The seed money…which is held at a credit union…won’t grow for the child. Instead, any interest goes back into the program.
And of course, fifty dollars won’t even buy most college textbooks, but the goal is something bigger.
“We are giving people a tool and money, but really what we’re trying to do is start parents and kids thinking about the future early on.”
“What is a better way to invest in the future of Boston, and Boston families, than investing in our kids?”
The cost of Boston Saves is about $200-thousand dollars for the city each year.
Contributions also come from the private sector and non-profits.
The state is piloting a similar program that goes statewide next year.