NYC Scholarship Month: What Families Should Know
January marks NYC Scholarship Month in New York City, an opportunity for more than 70,000 families of kindergartners and first graders to activate and view their new NYC Scholarship accounts, each of which is funded with a $100 seed investment. The accounts are provided through NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit organization that manages the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York. The new class of kindergartners and first graders nearly doubles the total number of families participating in the college and career savings program across New York City to a total of approximately 145,000.
The Save for College Program is a tool for families to advance their goals of college and career readiness, family empowerment and strong family-community ties. The Program is a public-private-community partnership designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for public school students, regardless of their income or immigration status.
Here are four key steps families can take to begin saving toward their children’s educational future:
- Activate and view your child’s NYC Scholarship Account online
As of school year 2022-2023, every kindergartener and first grade student enrolled in a NYC public school (including participating charter schools) is eligible to participate in the Save for College Program, regardless of family income or immigration status. Each participating student now has a free account, funded with $100 to build financial assets for higher education and dream big about the future.
Once a child is enrolled, families can visit nyckidsrise.org/activate and click “Activate Account” to visit the online Savings Tracker, create a profile and fill out the introductory Survey. Families will need the child’s nine-digit Student ID Number, date of birth, a current ZIP code and email address. After the account is activated, NYC Kids RISE will put a $25 reward toward the child’s NYC Scholarship Account.
- Open your own college and career savings account
When a family opens a college and career savings account that they own, and connect it to their child’s NYC Scholarship Account, NYC Kids RISE will put another $25 reward toward the child’s NYC Scholarship Account. Families can visit nyckidsrise.org/options for more information.
- Make your first deposit
If a family donates at least $5 into their connected college and career savings account, NYC Kids RISE will put another $25 reward toward the child’s NYC Scholarship Account.
- Keep saving and receive the Savings Match
Families, their community and NYC Kids RISE can keep saving together over time. Starting on a child’s first day of first grade until the last day of fifth grade, NYC Kids RISE will match the money a family deposits into their connected college and career savings account dollar-for-dollar, up to a maximum of $100. Members of the community can also contribute to a child’s education through Community Scholarships.
Research suggests that children with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 are three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate. This signifies an investment in the financial and social resiliency of families and neighborhoods, and it provides a new way to drive financial assets towards communities that have been systematically excluded from wealth-building opportunities. Since the launch of the Save for College Program in 2017, over $18.5 million has been collectively allocated to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of participating students.
Families can use NYC Scholarship Account money for higher education, including at eligible two-and-four-year colleges, trade and vocational schools, and eligible apprenticeship programs in the United States and some schools abroad (the scholarship funds can be used for tuition, fees, equipment, some room-and-board expenses, and even textbooks, which are often not covered by other scholarships). For support with activating and viewing their child’s account, families can reach out to their school’s Parent Coordinator and attend an upcoming virtual workshop at nyckidsrise.org/events.
As part of NYC Scholarship Month, NYC Kids RISE has provided elementary schools across the city with toolkits, guides, posters, outreach tools and additional resources, available in multiple languages, to inspire families, schools and community partners to participate in the Program.
Get started saving today, and set your young New Yorker on a path towards achieving their dreams!
Courtesy of NYC Kids RISE Staff