Some newborns in Pennsylvania will be getting $100.
Under a new program announced Monday, the $100 starter deposit in a PA 529 College Savings Program account will be provided for babies born or adopted in 2018 and 2019 in Delaware, Elk, Indiana, Luzerne, Mifflin and Westmoreland counties. Planned legislation supported by Republicans and Democrats seeks to expand the pilot program statewide.
The Keystone Scholars program will provide each newborn child a PA 529 College Savings Program account with a $100 starter deposit in those six counties. The money can be used toward higher education expenses, including costs for trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, and universities. The goal is to have the $100 be added upon by families and grown through the saving programs investment. The child has until the age of 29 to use the funds in the special savings account.
“One of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your child grow, and dreaming about their future. All of us here today want to send a message to every Pennsylvania family that welcomes a new baby that we believe in your child just as much as you do, and we want to help jumpstart his or her success.” Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella said at an event announcing the program Monday.
The pilot program is being funded by $2.25 million in private funds from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Neubauer Family Foundation. Additional philanthropy funders are expected to join the program in the coming months.
Torsella said the state Department of Treasury has worked with lawmakers to draft bipartisan legislation to make the Keystone Scholars program statewide. Each year, more than 140,000 kids born or adopted in Pennsylvania could automatically benefit.
Officials said other states have run similar program successfully. No state taxpayer money from the General Fund will be used in the accounts.
“Research has shown that a baby with a higher education savings account at birth is three times more likely to pursue education or training after high school, and four times more likely to graduate,” Torsella said. “Every child born in every corner of Pennsylvania should be set up for success.”