children’s savings account program launched in Wyoming | New

The Teton Literacy Center (TLC) is thrilled to share the success of the pilot launch of our Funding Futures Children’s Savings Account tool to encourage post-secondary education and savings.

Funding Futures aims to change family and student expectations, increase academic performance and long-term TLC retention, and provide financial literacy and empowerment. The Funding Futures Pilot, Wyoming’s first CSA program, aims to break down barriers to lifelong learning.

By expanding the efforts of college and professional programs alongside a CSA tool, the Funding Futures pilot aligns with national research illustrating that students with a savings account are seven times more likely to pursue an education post-secondary education than those who do not. This is true regardless of family income, race or education level.

The main objectives of the Funding Futures program are:

● Start early to foster student and family expectations and aspirations for post-secondary education and skills training.

● Help students be career, college and post-secondary ready with a long-term approach to academic engagement and self-confidence.

● Develop the financial potential of students and families by using TLC programs and connecting with partners to offer other related services.

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We kicked off this effort in January 2022 by offering 27 families the opportunity to open a savings account with U.S. Bank locally and receive start-up funds in a TLC 529 omnibus. Invited families were currently enrolled in our Lit Lab preschool program. Families save funds in a UTMA child account through US Bank and TLC provides start-up and bonus funds placed in the 529 account through Scholarshare. Initial filings on behalf of TLC and the families were made in March 2022.

In its short existence, the Funding Futures pilot program has already achieved great success:

● Participation rate of 85%, against a national average of 35%.

● As of August 31, 2022:

○ 87% of families have made additional payments since opening the UTMA account for their child.

○ 78% of families saved $100 or more, 21% saved more than $500.

○ Over $14,000 saved for post-secondary success – $8,286 saved for students in 529 accounts and $6,338 saved by families in students’ UTMA account.

We are extremely grateful to a friend and anonymous TLC donor who funded our two-year pilot phase. We would also like to thank US Bank in Jackson for their tireless work with our families in opening savings accounts as well as the 529 Scholarshare program and the Outcome Tracker account tracking program for their partnership.