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Building Wealth in the Commonwealth: What You Should Know about $eedMA

This post originally appeared on the Inclusive Economy blog here.

At the $eedMA event in Worcester (L to R): Albert Barnor, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Tim Garvin, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Carl Rist, CFED, Alayna Van Tassel, Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office, Anthony Poore, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Joining its neighbors in New England, Massachusetts is the latest state to explore the possibility of establishing Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for all young children. The Bay State’s effort is known as $eedMA and is being launched on a pilot basis in the city of Worcester. At a meeting with community stakeholders last month in Worcester, representatives from the Office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer and the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority shared the details.

What is $eedMA?

Created by the Office of State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, $eedMA is a CSA program designed to help Massachusetts children and families save for higher education and postsecondary training. For the next three years, on a pilot basis, every one of the approximately 2,000+ kindergarten students in Worcester Public Schools will be eligible to open a 529 college savings account through the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) that includes a $50 initial deposit funded through public-private partnerships. Eventually, $eedMA will be available to every kindergarten student in Massachusetts.

Why $eedMA?

$eedMA is designed to increase the share of children and families in Worcester that are saving for higher education. $eedMA also seeks to deliver high-quality financial education to students and parents. Finally, $eedMA strives to boost postsecondary enrollment and graduation rates for Worcester High School students, and in particular, economically vulnerable and disadvantaged students.

Why Worcester?

Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts, and its population is diverse in terms of education attainment, income levels and ethnicity. The Worcester region is home to 13 colleges and universities, and local higher education leaders have already been developing innovative approaches to college affordability. At present, four colleges in the region — Fitchburg State University, Mount Wachusett Community College, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University — have created the Worcester 30K Commitment Partnership, which provides an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree for $30,000 in four years. $eedMA will complement this effort by helping local families get a head start on saving for postsecondary success.