Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

CSAs should include every child of a given age—ideally, at birth, although there are certainly reasons to tie additional incentives to accomplishment of specific academic or life milestones. Including everyone in CSAs underscores the stake we all have in each other’s prosperity, which is particularly true when it comes to global competitiveness and the educational outcomes CSAs can deliver. Universality also means inclusiveness, or meaningful access to asset accumulation by low-income individuals who otherwise may not have truly equitable opportunities.1 This speaks to the need for features such as automatic enrollment (opt-out), concerted outreach and education strategies, and special incentives for lower-income households, in order to avoid a ‘universal’ CDA policy turning into another asset development investment that disproportionately benefits those already advantaged.

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Citation

Lewis, M., Elliott, W., Cramer, R. and Black, R. (2013). Designing for success: Children’s savings account policy features to drive educational outcomes (Chapter 6 – Brief 1). In W. Elliott (Ed.), Giving children a financial stake in college: Are CSAs a way to help maximize financial aid dollars? (Biannual Report on the Assets and Education Field). Lawrence, KS: Assets and Education Initiative.

Children's Savings Account Brief Year 2013