New Series: Creating a Financial Stake in College

The Asset Building Program and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis (CSD) are pleased to publish a series of reports collectively titled "Creating a Financial Stake in College." Authored by William Elliott III, professor at University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, the four-part series focuses on the relationship between children's savings and improving college success. This conversation has ramifications for how we conceptualize the American Dream – the belief that education and hard work can yield success to any committed individual. The research in these reports sheds light on the factors beyond academic capability and dedication that have such profound impacts on low-income students’ ability to attend college.

Today, we are releasing the first report in the series, which presents a case for why policymakers should care about promoting savings, especially among children from lower income families. Subsequent reports in the series will be released every Thursday during January. In turn, the reports examine inequality and bank account ownership, connections between savings and college attendance, and recommendations to refine children's savings account proposals.

Elliott and colleagues have conducted a number of studies on children’s savings and broadened our understanding of how savings particularly affect low-income children. These papers invite discussion of this research and the policy recommendations organizations like ours have envisioned that address the inequality of savings opportunities for low-income students and their families. As Elliott’s reports elaborate, children with savings in their name are more inclined to take control over their educational experience with profound impact on their trajectory to college and future. Children’s savings should be viewed as a tool for intergenerational economic mobility.

Check back on The Ladder for the forthcoming reports in the series:

Report I: Why Policymakers Should Care about Children's Savings (January 5, 2012)   

Report II: Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account? (January 12, 2012)  

Report III: We Save, We Go to College (January 19, 2012)  

Report IV: Ideas for Refining Children's Savings Accounts Proposals (January 26, 2012)  


Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as the Asset Building program's research director and as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract Initiative.