How Student Debt Stunts Financial Growth

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Media Outlet: The Atlantic

What might an asset-empowered future look like? Giving every child a Child’s Savings Account would be a good start. These accounts would hold an initial deposit at birth and offer the opportunity for matching funds paid through public funds. Child Savings Accounts would be a critical part of a strategy to foster expectations among very young students that they should receive postsecondary education and equip them early and often with strategies to pay for it. Researchers refer to this as helping kids develop a college-saver identity. All families would be able to save into the accounts, but public investments, like Pell Grants, could be delivered strategically to a kid’s account early enough in her academic trajectory to shape achievement and grow into larger balances.  


William Elliott III is a senior research fellow in New America's Family-Centered Social Policy program. He is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas (KU), and founder of the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) a Center in KU's School of Social Welfare. Dr. Elliott applies his research into the power of saving and the relationship between the act of saving and its impact on later success, particularly educational success.