Schools Across NYC Celebrate First-Ever New York City Scholarship Month
Participating Families Encouraged to Activate and View NYC Scholarship Accounts
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.
“Too many families go without the necessary support and resources to secure a strong economic future for their children. The Mayor's Office of Equity is committed to tackling the longstanding inequities that prevent many of our students, families, and communities from getting ahead," said Mayor's Office of Equity Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “I firmly believe that the Save for College Program offers new ways for communities to tap into their unique strengths and power to support their children. I'm thrilled that families citywide can activate their children’s' NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, knowing that this is just the beginning of so much to come.”
“We are proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE to ease the financial burden students face as they go on to higher education,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Through the Save for College Program, Mayor Adams, NYC Kids RISE and communities across New York City are making higher education more accessible, empowering the next generation to attend college or pursue trainings for their career without the burden of crushing student loan debt.”
“Creating opportunity for our children means investing in their future,” said Carson Hicks, acting executive director, Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College program employs strategies that have been shown to increase families’ educational expectations and resources for children. NYC Opportunity has been a proud partner in the Save for College Program from its early beginning and we are very excited that parents and guardians now get to see the power of this community effort.”
“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program was designed by hundreds of public, private, philanthropic, nonprofit, and community partners coming together across School District 30 and beyond to create a tool that would help students and families build wealth, reinforce expectations of success for all our children, and prepare them for their educational and economic futures,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, founding executive director, NYC Kids RISE. “Today, nearly every kindergartener in public school across all New York City neighborhoods has a financial resource for college and career training. I look forward to celebrating the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month with school communities across the city as they work with families to activate and view their accounts for the first time.”
“CUNY applauds the work that NYC Kids RISE, the City of New York, the Department of Education and communities across New York City are doing to forge pathways for social and economic mobility for all children,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “With the citywide expansion of the Save for College Program, even more kids are on a path toward higher education and career training, which will help close the wealth gap and strengthen our city by making it more equitable. As parents and guardians of participating kindergarteners in New York City complete the foundational steps of the program, they are moving in the direction of college and career readiness for their child.”
In May, schools across the city will kick off the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month, a time when school communities come together to celebrate the collective efforts to support college and career readiness and the first opportunity families have to activate and view their child’s new NYC Scholarship Accounts. As part of these celebrations, school communities across the city will be hosting events and activities to support families in completing this critical first step.
The Save for College Program is a public-private-community partnership designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for public school students, regardless of their income or immigration status. Through a diverse network of partners, the universal community-driven wealth-building platform seeks to ensure that every NYC public school kindergartener graduates high school with a financial asset for college and career training, and ensure that students, families, schools, and communities have increased college-and career-going expectations for every child. Research suggests that children with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 are three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate.
In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in Queens School District 30 through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, and the city of New York; and founding support from the Gray Foundation. Over the last five years, more than 13,500 first, second, third, and fourth graders across the 39 schools that participated in the pilot have accumulated over $7 million in financial assets. Based on the success of the pilot phase, the citywide expansion of the Save for College Program was included in the Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity.
“The cost of higher education can be daunting, but NYC Kids RISE helps transform the dream of a college education, shared by so many school children and their families, into a reality,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “My thanks to Mayor Adams and his administration for making sure it’s easier for New York City’s students to save for their bright futures through the Save for College Program.”
“I am thrilled that the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program will be rolled out to every kindergarten family across the city and to see this program grow with NYC Scholarship month. With the initial $100 invested, our youngest students will have a first step on a path to obtaining higher education—regardless of income or immigration status. The launch of NYC Scholarship month will allow families to continue on their journey to saving even more towards their children’s academic career and expanding opportunities for future investments,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.
“Education is the gateway to success, and it is important that we provide our youth with the necessary resources to thrive,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “The NYC Kids RISE program will ensure every New Yorker, regardless of their socio-economic status or zip-code, will have access to college opportunities and career training that will prepare them for a successful future. Thank you to Mayor Adams and the New York City Department of Education for their continued investment in our youth.”