Financial Capability Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Closing the Gap in College Enrollment: The Potential of Children’s College Accounts

This study examines the potential role of children’s college accounts (CCAs) as a way to increase college enrollment among youth in America. This study indicates that 91 percent of young people aspire to attend college; however, only 75 percent actually expected to attend college in 2002. Among youth who expected to attend college and had a CCA, there was an expectation/enrollment gap of 13 percentage points. By contrast, among youth who did not have a CCA there was an expectation/enrollment gap of 30 percentage points. When controlling for all independent variables, children with a CCA are nearly twice as likely to be in college as those without a CCA. It appears that when the financing of college is perceived as being under a young person’s own control, that person is more likely to be enrolled in college. Moreover, findings suggest that college expectations act as a partial mediator between CCAs and college enrollment.

Project: I Can Save


Elliott, W., III. (2008). Closing the gap in college enrollment: The potential of children’s college accounts (CSD Working Paper 08-16). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.