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Mayor Adams Announces 97% of Kindergartners Citywide now Have an NYC Scholarship Account for College and Career Training

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May 05, 2022 - 06:43 AM

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced investments in the future of New York City children, giving 97 percent of kindergartners across the city access to a New York City Scholarship Account to save for college and career training in the future. Families can now activate their kindergarteners’ NYC Scholarship Accounts from the Save for College Program. This year, a total of $6.5 million has been invested in the 65,300 NYC Scholarship Accounts for students participating in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to invest in children’s futures — regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

“We need tangible and practical solutions to reduce the racial wealth gap, even more now as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Mayor Adams. “The Save for College Program can reduce the amount that students and families have to borrow in student loans, combatting the student debt crisis that has disproportionately impacted students of color. I am proud to announce the activation of thousands of scholarship accounts, bringing New York City students one step closer to financial assets.”

“In New York City, we know that when we come together, we can do big things,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “That nearly every kindergartener in public school in New York City now has a financial resource for their college and career training is a testament to our collective power and a moment to celebrate. We could not have reached this milestone without the support of so many partners across so many organizations, sectors and communities. With the Save for College Program in place across the city, we have a very powerful tool to make sure all our children are set up for success.”

“Economic development means investing in the people and places that help build a stronger, more inclusive and equitable future for all New Yorkers. NYC Kids RISE and the Save for College Program goes above and beyond by bringing businesses, community leaders and organizations as well as schools and parents together to further invest in our children from their earliest days in school,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer.  “I’m thrilled that families citywide can activate and see the early investment in their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, and I look forward to working with the many partners that have and will leverage this platform to help close the wealth and opportunity gaps in our great city.”

“Today is a historic day — we are taking a giant step towards making college and careers more accessible to our students,” said New York City Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks. “The money being deposited in accounts today plant the seeds that will instill a sense of financial literacy and open doors for our young people for decades to come.”

Starting this school year, and every year going forward, kindergarten students enrolled in a New York City public school — including participating charter schools — automatically receive a scholarship account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan, with an initial $100 from NYC Kids RISE, unless their families choose not to participate. This signifies an investment in the financial and social resiliency of families and neighborhoods, and it provides a new way to drive financial assets towards communities that have been systematically excluded from wealth-building opportunities. This milestone is the result of a broad effort from local leaders, partners, schools, businesses, and parents in Queens who helped create a universal, community-driven wealth-building platform that is embedded in homes, schools, and neighborhoods.

Through the program, families can receive up to $200 in additional rewards for their child’s scholarship account by taking foundational steps — such as opening and connecting a separate college and career savings account that they own for their child —  and starting to save in the ways and amounts that make sense for them. Communities, businesses, anchor institutions, and other systems can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts as both a targeted and universal platform for community-driven asset-building in every neighborhood. By combining seed scholarships, family savings, community investments, and funding streams from every level, the Save for College Program can build significant assets for public school students and communities.

The Save for College Program equips elementary schools with financial education lessons in the classroom and new college-and-career and asset-building activities for entire families. Families can participate in financial empowerment and college/career-going activities and workshops and are connected to one-on-one counseling at the city’s Financial Empowerment Centers. Community Based Organizations can integrate the Save for College Program into their programming to increase access for their families and enhance their missions, including taking elementary school students and their families on college visits and incorporating the platform into workforce development and after school programs.

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