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De Blasio Rolls Out Child Savings Accounts Program To Help Public School Students Save For College

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A new public-private partnership will roll out a savings account program to 10,000 children in New York City public schools.

The NYC Kids RISE program will focus on helping those children save for college.

The idea behind the program stems from a report by the Center for Social Development, which found that a low- or moderate-income child with a college savings account with up to $500 is three times more likely to enroll in college than one without a savings account. The same report found that children with accounts of $500 or more are five times more likely to graduate from college.

Starting in the fall of next year, some 3,500 kindergartners will be allotted $100 in scholarship accounts and may also get $200 in matching funds during the program's first three years.

"With this initiative, every child – regardless of their family's economic status – will have a fighting chance to access higher education," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"By making college scholarship investments early in life, the New York City CSA initiative is sending the message to New York City public school students, their parents, their teachers, and their communities that they can pursue higher education and will be supported in realizing that goal," said Jon Gray, co-Founder of the Gray Foundation, which is donating $10 million to the program.

"We need to invest in the future of our children. Research confirms that by creating these savings accounts, we will be dramatically increasing the chance that our children not only enroll in college, but graduate. Through this program they will see first-hand the benefits of long term savings, helping families to move up the economic ladder and enabling our students to secure their futures," said Commissioner Julie Menin, who will serve as chair of NYC Kids RISE.

NYC Kids RISE will oversee the scholarship accounts. Students will be able to participate in both a scholarship and a savings component in order to help grow their accounts.

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