The nonprofit organization manages the Save for College program, which enrolls students in a 529 plan with an initial $100 deposit.
So far, 10,000 kindergarteners, first graders and second graders across five neighborhoods in western Queens have been enrolled, according to founding executive director Debra-Ellen Glickstein.
“The idea here is that every child in our whole community can be anything they want to be,” she said. “We are here to support neighborhoods to make sure families and children know that.”
NYC Kids RISE has invested more than $1.5 million across these 10,000 accounts. Glickstein said they hope the program expands into two additional school districts next school year.
The second graders will become third graders, adding yet another new cohort of students to the program.
The program currently has 39 elementary public schools participating.
“The hope would be to be citywide over the next set of years,” she said.
According to Glickstein, research shows that students are three to four times more likely to go to college when they have a savings account.
In addition to the NYC Scholarship Account, families can also open their own college savings account, and begin to save their own money to supplement the fund.
“When you’re little, knowing from the beginning of your life that you have options, what whole communities believe in you,” she said, “truly changes the trajectory of your life.”