THE LATEST NEWS:
I am excited to share with you that our efforts in initiating a state-wide Children’s Savings Accounts program is making tremendous progress.
The version of the state budget, released yesterday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, contains a commitment for a pilot College Savings Account (CSA) program for low-income residents, the first-of-its-kind college financing plan in Massachusetts.
This was welcome news at Inversant, a Boston-based non-profit that has helped families learn about and save for college since 2009. Its founder and Board Chairman, Bob Hildreth, has long been a champion of CSAs and served on a state Board of Education task force that recommended the statewide pilot program.
“We’re very pleased with this significant achievement,” Hildreth said, “It is a critical indicator that the CSA movement is making progress in Massachusetts.”
The Senate plan, contained in the Fiscal Year 2017 spending document that will be debated by the full Senate next week, calls for spending no less than $350,000 to create a public/private partnership establishing a two-year CSA for low-income residents in at least five cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. The plan, aimed at families with children in grades 7 through 12, will include matching grants for families who contribute at least $100 annually (up to a maximum of $500 annually).
The provision ties college savings to parent engagement. Selected organizations will teach parents about planning for past secondary education in meetings held at each site.
Inversant’s core belief is that families need to be a central focus in saving for college, and the budget rider endorses that, providing information about scholarships, grants and the ways to avoid relying heavily on college loans.
There were no CSA provisions in the budget proposal passed by the House last month, so for it to be included in the final spending document, it will need to survive next week’s deliberations, as well as be added in the final conference committee report in June.
Charles F. Desmond