Targeted News Service (CFED)
By: Targeted News Service
February 4, 2014
State Treasurer Kate Marshall today was joined by Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez and other dignitaries in announcing the statewide launch of the Nevada College Kick Start Program (http://collegekickstart.nv.gov/), which is establishing $50 college savings accounts for all Nevada 2013-2014 public school kindergarten students. An assembly at Anderson Elementary School in Reno featured students dressed in "I'm going to college" T-shirts, and included parents and school administrators.
The Nevada College Kick Start Program is using a portion of program manager fees paid to the Treasurer's Office, not taxpayer dollars, to open the college savings accounts. Approximately 35,000 accounts will be opened in the first year of the program, which is intended to create a more "college going culture" in Nevada, resulting in more college graduates in the Silver State. In all, 72 elementary schools and more than 5,000 kindergarten students in the Washoe County School District are now included in the program.
"This is an incredible accomplishment; to begin the Nevada College Kick Start Program just a few short months ago and now to see it go statewide is extremely exciting," Marshall said. "This program has the potential to be a game-changer in our state by teaching students and parents the value of beginning to plan ahead for the cost of higher education, which could be a university or technical college degree. Nevada clearly needs more college graduates if we are going to entice major corporations with good paying jobs to our state, and the Nevada College Kick Start Program is a definitive step in the right direction."
Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez said, "The Nevada College Kick Start Program speaks directly to our goal of preparing each of our students for college and highly-skilled careers. One of the most important steps toward that goal is establishing financial support for students early in their academic journeys--not in high school, but in kindergarten. This can serve as a constant and reassuring reminder that they are college-bound and that we stand behind them 100 percent. Down the road, a more educated workforce has positive, far-reaching economic effects on the entire community because college graduates are able to earn higher salaries and enjoy a higher quality of life. We are grateful to Treasurer Marshall for taking this program statewide, because it will mean greater opportunities for even more of Nevada's children."
The Nevada College Kick Start Program initially included about 3,400 students: public school kindergarteners in 13 Nevada rural counties; seven Title I schools in the Washoe County School District, thanks to a grant secured through Charles Schwab Bank; and kindergarten students at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy through a donation from Meadows Bank. The Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada voted unanimously in November 2013 to expand the program statewide to include the Carson City, Clark County, Douglas, and Washoe school districts.
Marshall said to further encourage families to begin saving for college, her office reached an agreement with Upromise, the program manager for the Nevada College Savings Plans, to lower the minimum account opening for Nevadans to a mere $15 from the previous amount of $250.
Marshall added, "Studies have shown that children who know they have a college savings account in their name are 7 times more likely to attend an institution of higher learning. It's important to note that the study found that even a small account improves a child's determination and preparedness for college and higher education, regardless of family income, ethnicity, or the educational attainment of the child's parents."
Nevada College Kick Start college savings accounts are held under a Master Account managed by Upromise in the Nevada College Savings Trust Fund's name. Withdrawals from individual accounts can only be made for Internal Revenue Code qualified higher education - expenses when the child - enters college, in most cases, 13 years later.
The Treasurer's Office has also partnered with CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) through its 1:1 Fund Program (http://1to1fund.org/) to provide community leaders, businesses, organizations, and individuals with the opportunity to add to these accounts by donating funding to students in Title I schools whose families have opened their own separate SsgA Upromise 529 college savings account. The website, http://1to1fund.org/match/partners/nevada, provides information on how donations can be made. Donations received by CFED through the website will be used to provide additional savings incentives for the accounts managed by the Treasurer's Office through Upromise.