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Case Study

Kindergarten to College (K2C)

A First-in-the-Nation Initiative to Set All Kindergartners on the Path to College
  • and Leigh Phillips, San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment
September 2011 |
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In the Spring of 2011, the City of San Francisco automatically opened college savings accounts for over 1,000 San Francisco Kindergartners. The City also “seeded” every account with an initial deposit of $50. The account openings marked the official launch of San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College initiative, or “K2C.” This initiative, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to improve the odds for San Francisco Kindergartners and set all San Francisco public school children on a path to college, from the very first day of school. This case study provides an overview of Kindergarten to College (K2C), why city leaders started it, and how it works.

What Is Kindergarten To College?

The idea behind Kindergarten to College is relatively simple: to help families start saving earlier and to save more, by removing barriers to opening an account and providing incentives to spur contributions.

Parents, friends, extended family and the students themselves will use their K2C account to save for post-secondary education. The hope is that as their savings grow, so will their aspirations.

At full rollout, every child entering kindergarten in a San Francisco public school will have a college savings account automatically opened for them with a $50 deposit from the City and County of San Francisco. Children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program will receive an additional $50 deposit. K2C was piloted in the 2010-2011 academic year with 1,200 students in 18 schools, representing 25 percent of all kindergarten classes and will roll out to all entering kindergartners—approximately 4,500 students per year—over  the next two years.

Philanthropic and corporate foundations, community organizations, local businesses, and individuals have strengthened the appeal of the program by providing funds for additional deposits and matching incentives to encourage family savings and boost account balances.

Schools are integrating financial education—tied to the K2C account—into the K-12 math curriculum. We believe San Francisco will be the first city in the nation to integrate financial education that is linked to a real-life teaching tool in the form of the universal K2C account.

Click here to read the entire paper.

New research shows that children with savings accounts will be up to seven times more likely to attend college than those without an account. This is true regardless of the family’s income, race, or educational attainment.

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