August 31, 2016
Educare DC Announces Education Savings Account Program
Washington, DC (August 31, 2016) – Educare Washington, DC, a high-quality, research-based early childhood school in Ward 7, is pleased to announce the launch of Educare Future Scholars, which will provide all enrolled children, ages six weeks to five years, with scholarship and savings opportunities to promote their post-secondary education. The program will help children and families to develop academic and financial habits that will help them succeed in school and beyond.
Educare Future Scholars will combine scholarship funds and family savings opportunities. The scholarship funds will be available for eligible post-secondary education expenses and can be "earned" by students and their families through milestones such as attendance, participation in the school community and savings. Family savings accounts will be funded with an upfront "seed" contribution, and family members and others can make additional contributions to support the child's future education.
"This program is closely aligned with Educare DC's core mission," said Pyper Davis, executive director of Educare DC. "We're thrilled to support our children's post-secondary education options while simultaneously helping our children and families develop academic and financial habits that will support their future success. Educare's high-quality early childhood program provides a critical foundation for children, and Educare Future Scholars will help enable greater educational opportunities for each of them."
"I am so excited about this program and the opportunities it presents for my son and for the children at Educare DC. It is terrific way for the school to work with families to support their children's futures," said Zunnobia Hakir, an Educare DC parent, board member, and parent committee member.
Through a partnership with PNC Bank's Grow Up Great initiative, the program will also provide financial education and banking opportunities for families. The goal is to help families deepen their understanding and comfort with financial concepts, such as budgeting, so they are able to save and improve their financial well-being.
"This program is unique and innovative in that it encourages participating parents, through the development of savings habits, to instill the expectation of college attendance for their children." said Kathryn Clay, PNC Vice President for Community Development Banking. "This is just one of the many ways PNC Grow Up Great volunteers help to ensure children grow up great!"
Educare Future Scholars is implemented in partnership with the Utah Education Savings Plan (UESP) and Future Scholars Fund, Inc. (FSF). UESP, a top-rated 529 plan provider, offers a platform uniquely suited to an integrated scholarship and savings program tailored for Educare Future Scholars. FSF, a non-profit whose founders have years of experience in the educational savings field, is providing funding that will support Educare Future Scholars for the next five years. Ms. Davis expressed gratitude on behalf of the Educare community for the founders' generosity and support of the Educare mission. FSF hopes that if the program is successful it can be expanded to other schools in the region.
Studies suggest that post-secondary education savings boost children's social-emotional development, help them form a positive college-bound identity, and teach them about the importance of savings and financial literacy. One study found that low- and moderate-income children with less than $500 in savings were three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate from college when compared with children who had no savings.
The program builds on successful initiatives elsewhere in the country, such as San Francisco's Kindergarten to College program, the El Monte Promise Foundation's Scholars Savings Program, the I Have a Dream Foundation, and programs in Wabash, Ind., and the state of Maine.
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About Educare Washington, DC
Educare Washington, DC, is a full-day, full-year early education school that helps young, at-risk children develop the skills necessary for success in kindergarten and in life. Educare DC serves 157 children ages six weeks to five years and their families. Opened in July 2012, the school is part of a national network of 21 high-quality, research-based, early childhood schools. Educare DC is also an Early Head Start and Head Start program and the early childhood anchor program within the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative.