In an article on the front page of the May 28, 2010 San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco city officials point to a CSD study on savings and college enrollment as they prepare to launch a city-funded college savings account program this fall. The program, spearheaded by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, will enroll 1,250 children this year, nearly 25% of the incoming kindergarten class. Plans call for expanding the program to 100% of the incoming kindergarten class within three years.
“It’s all about building aspirations – knowing they have a shot at being successful,” noted city Treasurer Jose Cisneros, who helped design the program with Newsom.
Recent research conducted by CSD’s William Elliott and Sondra Beverly suggests that Cisneros is correct: savings play an important role in college attendance. They find that, among youth who expect to attend college, youth with a savings account are about seven times more likely to actually attend. (Read the working paper; Read the research brief.)
Another study by Elliott and Beverly finds that, controlling for many other variables including income, financial assets are a consistent and stable predictor of later college graduation. In addition, assets appear to be linked to higher educational expectations of both parents and children. (Read the working paper; Read the research brief.)
Elliott and Beverly’s research is a product of the College Savings Initiative (CSI), a collaboration of CSD and the New America Foundation that aims to increase access, performance, and completion of post-secondary education among low-to-moderate-income students. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education, the initiative focuses on research and policy design for more inclusive college savings plans.