Jenny Sanford, AFC®

Paying for a post-high school education can be a significant investment in the life of a child. We can help you start at any age level. Financial Empowerment coaches can provide assistance with filling out Financial Aid forms and talking about the pros and cons of student loans. We also emphasize that parental savings is a powerful tool. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how much money is in a designated college savings account to make a difference.  

Last month our Financial Empowerment Team members attended the Midwest Asset Builders Conference held in St. Paul. The two-day event featured speakers focusing on research and tactics used in the region to disrupt the racial wealth gap. One of the featured speakers was Dr. Willie Elliot of the University of Michigan School of Social Work. His research has shown the ways that even a savings account with $50 can move a young person from student to college graduate. 

Dr. Elliot’s 2013 research paper titled, “Small Dollar Savings Accounts and Children’s College Outcomes” found that children with between $1 and $499 saved in a designated college savings account were 3 times more likely to attend college and 2.5 times more likely to graduate than their counterparts with no savings. The study suggests that children with money in these types of accounts identify themselves as a “college saver” and are more inclined to make the post-secondary leap into higher education. 

This research is extremely hopeful news for families whose children desire a post-secondary education but are struggling to make ends meet.  When children see that their families are financially investing in their schooling, they are more likely to pursue higher education including college and trade schools.  

Our financial counselors are here to help you teach kids about money and get them engaged in their futures. Reach out for more information about age-appropriate teaching strategies, to open a college savings account, or ask questions about how to get kids to think about personal finances.