By Lisa Groen
Senior Writer, Utah Educational Savings Plan
January 19, 2015
More than 50 years ago, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke the words, “I have a dream,” he contrasted racial injustice with the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equality and opportunity for all. He called for change, including equal access to education.
As the nation’s college savings plans continue to work to ensure that King’s dream of equal access is fully realized, they can rely on encouraging data that lends understanding to what may help children attain a college education. William Elliott, a researcher on the topic of children’s savings accounts (CSAs), reports that when children have savings accounts in their names, they are more likely to attend college, regardless of their parents’ personal savings and net worth. A child with as little as $1 to $499 in a CSA is 3 times more likely to enroll and 2.5 times more likely to graduate from college.* This suggests that designating a savings account for a child’s future college expenses, regardless of the amount saved, may be vital to academic attainment—important information for families considering opening a 529 college savings account.