The final approval of Massachusetts’ FY2017 state budget includes funding for a pilot College Savings Account (CSA) program for low-income residents, thanks to an override from the state legislature during the final days of the budgeting process, which wrapped up on July 31.
This first-of-its-kind college financing plan in Massachusetts calls for spending no less than $750,000 to create a public/private partnership establishing a two-year CSA for low-income residents in at least five 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).
It also ties college savings to parent engagement. Selected organizations will teach parents about planning for post- secondary education in meetings held at each site.
Bob Hildreth, founder and chairman of Inversant, a Boston-based nonprofit that helps families learn about and save for college since 2009, praised legislators and Treasurer Deb Goldberg for their efforts to make this program a reality.
He thanks the efforts of Treasurer Deb Goldberg, whose vision helped create an initiative that will bring us a step forward in meeting the Treasurer’s goal to make college savings accounts available for all families in the Commonwealth.
“Thanks to you, families will be encouraged to save and learn to support the college aspirations of their children! This is a great thing,” Hildreth said.
The new program is a public/private partnership where funds raised to support the program will be invested in the Treasurer’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund.
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.