Pennsylvania families with a new baby have a head start on saving for post-secondary education, thanks to the Keystone Scholars program.
Every baby born or adopted since Dec. 31, 2018, will receive a $100 investment from the Pennsylvania Treasury.
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella came up with the idea as a way to offer universal children’s savings accounts to Pennsylvania’s youngest residents.
“Families look at their new baby and see endless opportunities,” he said. “Now, they will feel the support of the whole commonwealth behind them, because an investment in a child’s future is an investment in the future of Pennsylvania.”
Sure, $100 might sound like a drop in the bucket, but research has shown that having even a modest amount of savings greatly increases a child’s chance of enrolling in higher education. Studies show that a baby with education savings at birth is:
- Three times more likely to enroll in post-high school training or education.
- Four times more likely to graduate.
Keystone Scholars is a message to families of any income level that even a small amount of savings can make the difference for a child’s future post-secondary education path.
If a family continues to save as little as $25 a month, the amount could grow to $10,000 by the child’s 18th birthday. Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation for graduates who have the most student debt. Saving arly will minimize the need to borrow.
Here’s how the program works:
- New and expectant parents can sign up for Keystone Scholars here.
- You will receive instructions by mail on how to access your account online within 4-6 months after the baby’s birth.
- To maximize savings, you have the option to open a PA 529 College and Career Savings Program.
- You can link the Keystone Scholars and PA 529 accounts so you can track the growth of your savings.
- Savings can be accessed after the child’s 18th birthday and need to be used before age 29.
Although the Keystone Scholars program was signed into law in June 2018, the Treasury is still working to get the word out to parents.
No tax dollars are used. The $100 per baby Keystone Scholars money is invested as part of the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan and funded by surplus investment earnings, along with philanthropic donations.
“Increasingly, people need training after high school to compete for jobs,” said Governor Tom Wolfe. “Whether a child eventually goes to a trade school, community college or university, Keystone Scholars is the first step in making their dream career a reality.”