Dems: Expanding opportunities for college savings

March 7, 2016
By

Legislation inspired by students at Findley Elementary School in Des Moines would create more opportunities to set up college savings programs in Iowa.

 

Under SF 2100, nonprofits could establish College Savings Iowa 529 Plans for Iowa students. This would help many nonprofits throughout the state spend less time administering scholarship programs and more time raising money to help kids.

 

The I Have a Dream Foundation in Des Moines works with students at Findley Elementary school to get them college-ready, both academically and by inspiring them to dream and set goals for their future. The foundation established college savings accounts for students through Utah’s 529 college savings program because Utah allows non-profits to establish an account for individual savings plans. The proposed legislation would authorize such programs in Iowa through our state’s college savings plan.

 

Findley Elementary School takes a proactive approach to dropout prevention by putting at-risk students on the path to college and career success through:

  • Academic assistance
  • Social support
  • Mentoring
  • Parent programming

 

Findley students can earn money for college by achieving the goals of their program, including meeting schoolwork requirements and promoting parental involvement. On average, an at-risk child has about a 60 percent chance of graduating from high school. The graduation rate is above 95 percent for students in the I Have a Dream program.

 

Studies have shown that low-income students with as little as $500 saved for college are three times more likely to enter college and four times more likely to graduate. Let’s encourage more Iowans start early, plan for their future and save for college.

 

Information on the College Savings Iowa program is available through the state treasurer at www.collegesavingsiowa.com.

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