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The Ladder

A Blog from New America's Asset Building Program

William Elliott: Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account?

Published:  January 12, 2012
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via Flickr.com/hoyasmeg

As we announced last week, the Asset Building Program and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis are co-releasing a series of reports, Creating a Financial Stake in College, by William Elliott III on the importance of children's savings and college outcomes. The second report in the series is being released today and is available for download here. The press release from last week is also available here.

Report II, Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account? examines the institutional dimensions of savings behaviors and how children of color and low-income children are systematically at a disadvantage with saving due to structural limitations in the savings landscape. Saving for college remains a largely family-based process, so children whose parents have little to stash away are missing out, not only on the tangible benefit of being able to afford college when that day arrives, but also on opportunities to internalize sound financial literacy practices and early expectations that they will one day attend college. Elliott hones in on the myriad ways that wealth inequality emerges, such as from limited access to credit and divergent homeownership opportunities. Ultimately, he proposes a revised institutional framework for children's savings, one that addresses some of the inherent limitations currently hindering families of color and lower income students from saving for college.

Look for the third report in the series, "We Save, We Go to College," next Thursday.

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