Over 70,000 New York City Kindergartners and First Graders Receiving NYC Scholarship Accounts in the 2022-23 School Year
Number of Children with NYC Scholarship Accounts Nearly Doubles to 145,000 Citywide
Elementary Schools Across the Five Boroughs Celebrate NYC Scholarship Month to Encourage Families to Activate their Accounts and Dream Big for the Future
New York, NY—NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity, City officials, and partners announced that more than 70,000 new students across the city have been enrolled in the Save for College Program, and their families can now activate and view their new NYC Scholarship Accounts at nyckidsrise.org/activate. Each participating student now has a free account, funded with an initial $100 seed investment, to build financial assets for higher education and dream big about the future. The new class of kindergartners and first graders nearly doubles the total number of families participating in the college scholarship and savings program across New York City, to a total of approximately 145,000. 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.
Throughout the five boroughs this January, elementary schools are celebrating NYC Scholarship Month, the first opportunity newly enrolled families have to activate and view their child’s new NYC Scholarship Accounts. As part of these celebrations, school communities across the city are hosting events and activities to support families in completing this critical first step through in-person workshops and one-to-one outreach, and by decorating and showcasing their school’s Money Tree Poster in order to show how the balance in participating students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts grows over time.
“The best investment we can make as a city is in our children’s education,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our city’s future depends on what we are doing today to make sure our children are best positioned to succeed. With the Save for College Program nearly doubling in participation to more than 70,000 new students, I’m confident that we’re not just headed down the right track, but that we’re blazing a trail to ensure a bright future for our children.”
“Government plays a foundational role in making sure that our children have the resources needed to succeed and thrive–and that starts with putting real money towards their future,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “Thanks to the Adams Administration’s continued work with NYC Kids RISE, the participating numbers of students in the Save for College Program have nearly doubled. I’m proud that New York City continues to be a national model on delivering equity to our educational system and reimagining what the pathway to college can look like.”
“NYC Scholarship Month is a tremendous opportunity for families to learn about and take advantage of creating a NYC Scholarship Account for their child,” Schools Chancellor David C. Banks said. “I am so proud that NYC Public Schools and our partners have been able to double the number of students receiving scholarship accounts in this school year. With the support of outstanding partners like NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity, and others, we can and will prepare all of our students for whatever path they choose in college and career. To all kindergarten and first grade families: I urge you to activate your child’s NYC Scholarship Account today and begin saving for higher education.”
“We are thrilled to kick off the new year celebrating NYC Scholarship Month. Across the city, families and their school communities are coming together to activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts while encouraging our youngest scholars to dream about their future,” said Commissioner Sideya Sherman, NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity. The Save for College Program has catalyzed ongoing, community-driven investment in young people across diverse neighborhoods. We are incredibly proud to see the number of participating children double and excited about how this wealth-building platform will bolster their college and career journey.”
“Supporting our students’ educational journeys includes preparing students to save for college and their futures,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “As a longtime supporter of the Save for College Program, I am thrilled that more than 70,000 young children in our city have received their free NYC Scholarship Accounts this school year. As community members contribute to these accounts, their support will help advance each student’s dreams for higher education, careers, and beyond. I thank NYC Kids RISE and the City for their leadership to expand this important initiative.”
The Save for College Program is a tool for elementary schools 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. 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.
“Starting to make plans for all three of our kids very early has been very important to my husband and me,” said Ana Garcia, parent of a P.S. 212Q kindergarten student in Jackson Heights, Queens. “The Save for College Program is a great tool for our family to plan ahead because the money can really add up if you start now and before your kids are ready to go to college!”
“As a mother of two children, I know saving for your child’s education can be daunting, especially for families who might not have the resources to budget for higher education,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “This is an issue of equity and ensuring all our children have the ability to pursue their goals. Thank you to NYC Kids RISE, the DOE, and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity for making higher education a reality for more of our littlest New Yorkers.”
“I am excited to celebrate NYC Scholarship Month with school communities and to see students and families begin their journey toward college and career success,” said Carson Hicks, Acting Executive Director, Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “The Save for College Program provides students and families with financial assets for their future education, increases families’ educational expectations, and creates a way for entire communities to invest in their children. NYC Opportunity is proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE to support all of the city’s public school students to reach their full potential.”
“Welcoming kindergarteners and their families into the Save for College Program is a major step in expanding access to this universal wealth-building platform,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Founding Executive Director, NYC Kids RISE. “This NYC Scholarship Month, as elementary schools across the city work with families to activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, we are celebrating our collective commitment to building a future where every child will know from an early age that they have options. And that, now what it means for a child to start kindergarten in a New York City public school, is that this child will have a financial resource for their higher education!”
“We are excited to join with schools across the City to celebrate NYC Scholarship Month. The Gray Foundation has been proud to partner with the hundreds of community members and leaders that came together over the past six years across industries, sectors, and neighborhoods to help build the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program,” said Mindy and Jon Gray, co-founders, The Gray Foundation. “Thank you to Mayor Adams, First Deputy Mayor Wright, Chancellor Banks, Commissioner Sherman, and the entire city for their leadership and partnership. We are excited to deepen our partnership with the City of New York, the Department of Education, and NYC Kids RISE to continue to expand access to education and opportunity for youth across New York City.”
“Today’s announcement of increased enrollment in the Save for College Program is a reason to celebrate. The Save for College Program is a powerful tool that can have transformative impacts on students, their families, and entire communities. As trustee of New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan, I look forward to continuing to work with NYC Kids RISE and partners in making it easier for all New Yorkers to obtain higher education,” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Seventy thousand young New Yorkers are on their way to achieving a higher education and achieving their dreams,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Our City and community have invested in the thriving future of today’s kindergarteners—and one day, those young students will be high school seniors with money in the bank to make their college and career goals a reality.”
“While the cost of living rises for working families, higher education costs are skyrocketing. As we continue the work to try and increase affordability, opportunities like the Save for College Program are vital to help increase accessibility,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “This expansion is crucial, and I encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of this moment to invest in your children’s future success.”
“Investing in our children is the blueprint for building generational wealth, and I am grateful that the Save for College Program affords thousands of families the opportunity to not only dream big, but also lay the foundation for success,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “I encourage schools and families to take full advantage of NYC Scholarship Month to learn more about the resources available to help our youth plan for their future.”
“The Save for College Program is a symbol of pride for this City and of hope for the kids and families who participate,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “With more than 70,000 NYC kindergartners and first graders enrolling just this year, this program is seeing exponential success in uplifting the futures of young people across all five boroughs. Thank you to NYC Kids RISE, the Department of Education, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity and the many other City agencies and partners who have joined together to do right by the students of New York City.”
“Even the smallest amount of college savings makes it much more likely children will pursue higher education, so I encourage every parent of eligible students to activate their Save for College Program NYC Scholarship Account. Investing just a few minutes in this account will change your child’s future,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “As we discuss the idea of college and career moving forward, this program will be a key feature of New York City’s postsecondary workforce readiness framework.”
“I’m thrilled that the Save for College Program is continuing to flourish across Queens and our entire City,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “This initiative shows families that higher learning is a real and accessible possibility for all children, regardless of their financial status. I am so pleased to celebrate NYC Scholarship Month by encouraging all the families who have been automatically enrolled in the Save for College Program to activate their NYC Scholarship Accounts today.”
“NYC Scholarship Month is all about sending a message to kindergartners across the city that they should dream big! Welcome to the newest class of students to the Save for College Program! Activate and view your NYC Scholarship Accounts today!” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin and former board chair, NYC Kids RISE. “I was proud as the former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to have helped to create and launch the Save for College Program and to have served as the founding board chair of NYC Kids RISE. I am so delighted that in the School District 30 communities where we started six years ago, nearly every elementary student now has an NYC Scholarship Account.”
Through a diverse network of partners, the universal community-driven wealth-building platform seeks to ensure that every NYC public school kindergartner graduates high school with a financial asset for college and career training, and ensure that students, families, schools, and communities have increased college-and career-going expectations for every child.
In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in the geographic Queens School District 30 through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, and the city of New York, with founding and ongoing support from the Gray Foundation, who has contributed $22 million to the platform to date. As of January 2023, nearly every elementary school student in the communities of Astoria, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside has an NYC Scholarship Account for college and career training.
After the successful pilot, the Save for College Program was included in the Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan by the City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity and expanded citywide to nearly every NYC public elementary school (including participating charter schools) last school year. There are now nearly 145,300 NYC public school students and families that have access to the platform.
Through the Program, families can receive up to $200 in additional rewards for their child’s scholarship account by taking foundational steps—such as opening and connecting a separate college and career savings account that they own for their child—and starting to save in the ways and amounts that make sense for them. Communities, businesses, anchor institutions, and other systems can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts as both a targeted and universal platform for community-driven asset-building in every neighborhood. By combining seed scholarships, family savings, community investments, and funding streams from every level, the Save for College Program can build significant assets for public school students and communities.
As part of NYC Scholarship Month, NYC Kids RISE has provided schools 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. Parents and guardians of participating students can activate their child’s NYC Scholarship Account at nyckidsrise.org/activate, receive an additional $25 in the account for taking this first foundational step, and have opportunities to receive more funds over time. 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.
About the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a public-private-community partnership working to ensure that NYC public school students graduate with a financial asset, and reinforced expectations of success from the ecosystem of institutions and individuals that impact their lives. By providing upfront scholarships for every eligible student, tools and information for families to develop their own college and career savings plans, and a way for entire communities to invest in their children, the Save for College Program enables the entire community to work together to build assets and support expectations of educational and economic success for every child.
Through the Save for College Program starting in the 2021-2022 school year, and every year going forward, students in eligible grades enrolled in an NYC public elementary school (including participating charter schools) automatically receive an NYC Scholarship Account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan account with an initial $100 seed allocation and opportunities to earn more through early rewards, unless their families choose not to participate. Their families can open and connect a college and career savings account that they own for the benefit of their child, and communities can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts through Community Scholarships as both a targeted and universal platform for community-driven asset-building in every neighborhood. Community Scholarships are a way for communities to leverage their unique assets, institutions, and traditions to visibly and tangibly support their children’s educational futures by contributing to and fundraising for students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts. Students also receive age-appropriate financial education in the classroom through related curriculum extensions. NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization managing the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York.
Banner Image: Student enrolled in Save for College Program at P.S. 151Q Potluck Dinner (November 22, 2002). Image Credit – Nicole Chin-Lyn for NYC Kids RISE.