Kindergartners get a head start on college savings

Listen to the story

Kindergartners get a head start on college savings

School_books_and_apple

About 3,500 kindergartners in Nevada are getting a $50 college savings account from a new pilot program. Eight Washoe County elementary schools are included so far.

Along with the selected schools in Washoe, the Nevada College Kick Start Program includes schools in the state's 13 most rural counties. State Treasurer Kate Marshall says that once the pilot ends, she hopes the program will become ongoing and expand in scope.

"Our goal is to do this statewide for every kindergarten child in public school in the state of Nevada and to do it every single year, so that we can facilitate a college-bound culture right here in Nevada."

Right now, only 38% of Nevada students are enrolling in college and only 20% are graduating. Marshall says that even a small amount of money can make an impact on a child.

"When you put money in an account for a child, no matter how much--$10, $20--and you put their name on it, you tell that child in a tangible, real-world way that they are college-bound."

The program has also lowered the minimum amount for opening a college savings account in Nevada. Marshall says that normally, families need $250 to open an account, which may be out of reach. Now, that minimum is $15.