Helping children save for their educational futures

The newly launched Future Bound Miami is the first universal Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program in the state of Florida. Poised to help our community’s youth save for their futures, it was established by a consortium of community partners committed to working together to create more resources for Miami-Dade’s families’ educational and economic advancement.

Our United Way was part of the design of the program from the very beginning – as well as a funder, helping to fund the program’s infrastructure. And the idea for the program came to Gretchen Beesing, CEO of Catalyst Miami, five years ago after attending the Prosperity Now conference.

Softly launched in November of 2019, the concept is simple: Every kindergartener in the county – from 30 elementary schools in the City of Miami – has access to the account. They just need their parent or guardian to activate it by signing in through the parent portal. Once activated, a seed deposit from the City of Miami is automatically put into the account — $25 per student, and those that qualify for free or reduced lunch get an additional $25 deposit.

“We see this as a vehicle for saving, learning financial capability and other financial skills, and also an opportunity for their parents and other family members to make deposits into their accounts as well,” says Beesing. While there is no obligation to deposit into the account, the hope is that families will. “It is a very safe place to stash away money for higher learning and secondary training.”

The research around universal children’s savings programs is very positive. For low-income children, having as little as one dollar in a dedicated college savings account increases their rate of matriculation threefold and the rate of graduation fourfold.

The ultimate goal: Improve matriculation to higher education and post-secondary education and improve graduation rates. Future Bound Miami plans to expand and add additional feeder patterns every year until they get to the entire district. That will take approximately five years.

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2020-01-13T16:51:59-04:00 January 13th, 2020|