This paper explores young children’s perceptions and expectations about attending college, and the potential influence of a savings program on shaping children’s perceptions about paying for college. As part of a four-year study of a school-based college savings program called “I Can Save,” this paper uses qualitative evidence from interviews conducted in second and fourth grades with a diverse group of 51 children. Findings suggest that most of the children in the study have a general understanding of college and have begun a process of considering higher education. Further, children in “I Can Save” are more likely than a comparison group of children to perceive that savings is a way to help pay for college.
This paper was presented during Child Development Accounts: Research and Policy Symposium, a November 2008 conference, and was developed for publication in Child Development Accounts: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Potential, a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review. Released in November 2010, the special issue was edited by Michael Sharraden, Youngmi Kim, and Vernon Loke.
Subsequent publication: Elliott, W., III, Sherraden, M. S., Johnson, L., & Guo, B. (2010). Young children’s perceptions of college and saving: Potential role of Child Development Accounts. Children & Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1577–1584. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.03.018
Project: I Can Save