Pennsylvania Makes a Big Investment in Children's Futures
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed a law creating a statewide Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. Championed by State Treasurer Joe Torsella (D) and bipartisan sponsors in the State Legislature, the Keystone Scholars program will provide all newborns in Pennsylvania a CSA with a $100 initial deposit. Starting in January 2019, this new program will be the largest in the CSA field.
Pennsylvania will join other states with statewide CSA programs including Rhode Island and Maine, significantly advancing towards universal CSA coverage in America. Rhode Island's CSA program CollegeBound Baby began serving families in 2015 with a $100 initial deposit towards postsecondary education expenses. In Maine, the Harold Alfond College Challenge seeds CSAs with $500 for every child born as a state resident.
Rolling out the Keystone Scholars program will be a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer, Governor Wolf and Pennsylvania state lawmakers. Rather than use Pennsylvania taxpayer money, the initial deposits will be funded by a combination of surplus funds from the Treasury’s Guaranteed Savings Plan and private donations.
Treasurer Torsella first proposed the Keystone Scholars program during his 2016 campaign. In January, Torsella launched a pilot program in six counties, while also championing the program's expansion to the entire state. Torsella sees this program as an important step towards strengthening Pennsylvania’s future workforce by increasing access to postsecondary education.
The development of the Keystone Scholars program is a major victory for the national CSA movement. It brings us closer to our goal of expanding CSA coverage from the current 382,000 children to over one million by 2020.
If the news from Pennsylvania has you fired up, here’s a way that you can support CSA programs. Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17) and Charlie Dent (R-PA-15) just reintroduced the Children's Savings Accounts Opportunity Act. This commonsense bipartisan legislation would allow families to save for their children's future without fear of losing benefits that help make ends meet. We need your help to drum up support for the bill (H.R. 5738) by contacting your members of Congress! With your support, we can ensure that families are not penalized for investing in their future. Get the latest on our work in Children’s Savings by joining the Campaign for Every Kid’s Future.