For a city to remain economically stable in the increasingly sophisticated job market, its workers must have post-secondary credentialing that allows them to secure jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. Additionally, employers take into consideration the education and skills of residents when considering relocating to an area.

Children’s Savings Account programs (CSAs) assist in increasing the number of low- and moderate-income children who achieve a postsecondary credential or degree. CSAs are long-term savings or investment accounts that provide incentives to help children, especially low-income children, build dedicated savings for postsecondary education.

Research shows that when a low- to moderate-income child has a savings account – even if that account holds less than $500 – she is three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate. Moreover, children with college savings have greater post-secondary expectations and are more likely to see themselves as college-bound than children without any college savings.

By managing their accounts and participating in financial education programs often associated with CSA programs, CSAs also help families and children increase their overall financial literacy.

Since 2013, the NLC Institute for Youth, Education and Families has worked with cities throughout the country to launch and grow their CSA programs through peer-learning collaboratives.

Cities that participated in the learning collaboratives include Caldwell, Idaho; Boston and Chelsea, Mass.; Durham, N.C.; Lansing and Garden City, Mich.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Louisville, Ky.; San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Ogden, Utah; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Plainfield, N.J.; Seattle, Wash.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Washington, D.C.

As part of the learning collaboratives, cities have produced and shared materials such as formalized agreements, budgeting documents, talking points, and outreach and launch materials. NLC is happy to share CSA materials and lessons learned and connect interested cities with their peers who are running CSA programs.