A Los Angeles City Council committee is exploring the option of establishing a children’s savings account program for the approximately 72,000 kindergartners who enroll in the Los Angeles Unified School District each year.
“It works. This works. This is a proven program,” said Councilman David Ryu. “We will not be the first, but we would be the first large city to implement this and I am very excited about this.”
Emilzen Cervantes told the Health, Mental Health and Education Committee Monday her office is studying the feasibility of a program that could see the city, along perhaps with private foundations, start savings accounts for the city’s public school children.
Cervantes said other cities that have similar programs often start with a $50 or $100 seed account, and may have additional incentives for those who deposit money into the account or meet attendance and grade benchmarks.
With even minimal deposits throughout the child’s time before graduating high school, the account could grow to $500.
“Research shows that with as little as little as under $500 within your savings account it already increases graduation rates and attendance to college,” Cervantes said.
A full report on the issue is scheduled to be delivered to the committee in January. The program’s cost is expected to be disclosed in the report.
The council motion asking for the report said that “narrowing the gaps in college participation, and increasing financial opportunity and security across income groups, are vital to the continued growth of our city.
The rapid growth of children’s savings accounts illustrates that even modest asset ownership — something as simple as a savings account — can increase financial security and expand opportunity for the next generation of Angelenos and the adults in their lives. Given this potential, it is incumbent that we explore the feasibility of establishing such a program in Los Angeles.”
–City News Service
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