Citi is playing a key role in the first city-run college savings program, joining San Francisco leaders in launching Kindergarten to College (K2C). The program, announced this month, helps families get a head start by seeding a savings account for every kindergartner entering public school. Citibank is creating, opening and managing the accounts for approximately 1,200 children expected to participate in the first year, and for those who follow.
The K2C initiative will automatically open a savings account for the children at the start of kindergarten, with an initial $50 deposit from the City of San Francisco. Lower-income children will be eligible for an additional $50. Families will be able to make their own deposits through branches, by mail and online. Philanthropic foundations, including EARN and San Francisco Foundation, will provide cash matches and incentives to encourage families to save.
Bob Friedman, founder and board chair of CFED, a K2C participant, said the accounts help turn a college dream into reality. "At CFED we know that as savings grow, so do aspirations," he said. "Emerging research shows that people will save more if it's made easy and automatic, and that children with savings set aside for college are many times more likely to attend than children who have none."
The K2C program will introduce financial education to the classroom, using the accounts as a teaching tool. It launches in 18 schools this year with numbers expected to double next year. Full enrollment of all San Francisco kindergartners should be reached by 2012.
"Citibank is committed to working with the City of San Francisco to deliver not only this great savings initiative but to put in place what we believe is a potential national platform for other municipalities," said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development. "We are proud to work with the City on this innovative program that will help the students of San Francisco ultimately achieve a college degree."